Japanese Baseball

Hanshin admits fans to test virus measures ahead of July start

Kyodo

The Hanshin Tigers admitted fans to a farm team game on Tuesday to test countermeasures against the novel coronavirus before Japanese pro baseball starts welcoming spectators in July.

Three hundred members of the Tigers' fan club, including local children, were selected to watch the Hanshin farm team take on the Orix Buffaloes at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

Nippon Professional Baseball opened its season on Friday behind closed doors following a three-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioner Atsushi Saito said Monday his organization will allow spectators to attend games from July 10.

In order to get used to the procedures needed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, officials at the stadium asked spectators to wear face masks and took their temperature using thermal scanners.

The government's guidelines allow for the gradual increase in the number of spectators from July 10, starting with a maximum of 5,000 people or 50 percent of the venue's capacity, whichever is smaller.

Japan's pro soccer establishment, the J. League, is also planning to accept fans on July 10. The first division will resume its season on July 4 following a roughly four-month break.

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