Nippon Professional Baseball announced Thursday that restrictions on the number of fans who can attend games will remain in place through the end of August as Japan experiences a rising number of COVID-19 infections.
The league reached the decision through an emergency meeting of NPB representatives in light of the recent surge in the number of new infections, especially in Tokyo.
The government had been set to relax the limits on the number of people allowed to attend large gatherings, including sporting events, on Aug. 1. The government has decided to push that date back by a month and NPB followed suit.
NPB has been allowing fans into stadiums since July 10, with attendance capped at 5,000.
“Today, the 12 clubs agreed to follow the guidance of the government and will continue to limit attendance to a maximum of 5,000 through the end of August,” NPB secretary general Atsushi Ihara said in an online media briefing following the meeting.
According to Ihara, there were no objections during the meeting. He added that teams would follow the government’s lead even if the restrictions are extended beyond Aug. 31.
On Monday, the J. League, which also began letting spectators into stadiums on July 10, announced the attendance cap of 5,000 would remain in place through Aug. 10.
The country reported a single-day record of 795 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, exceeding the previous high set in April.
Some fans have not followed rules intended to limit the spread of the virus during games, doing things such as shouting and not keeping their masks on. Ihara, however, said these concerns were not discussed.
The joint coronavirus task force set up by NPB and the J. League will meet for the 12th time on Monday, and the leagues are expected to receive advice from their medical panel.
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