Beijing 2022 plans for fans in the stands as part of its principles to pull off a safe and secure Games

IOC and IPC say they “fully respect” the principles to combat COVID-19. Details will be released in late October with the first version of the Playbook.

A woman walks past signs for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games at the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo
A woman walks past signs for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games at the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo

Beijing 2022 will have spectators, though they will come entirely from mainland China.

That’s the biggest change from Tokyo 2020 in planned COVID-19 countermeasures for the upcoming Winter Games. Almost no fans were allowed in the stands in Japan.

Beijing 2022 organizers informed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) of its principles to help deliver a safe and successful Games during an IOC Executive Board meeting on Wednesday.

The IOC and IPC said they “fully respect” the principles, which could be described as the broad strokes of the countermeasures plan for the Games. Details will be coming out in the Playbooks, the first version set to be released in late October.

While spectators will be allowed, anyone buying tickets must follow the COVID-19 countermeasures. Additional specific requirements and details of ticketing arrangements are under discussion and development.

Beijing 18 July 2017: The Beijing Olympic Green, the location for all ice sports (figure skating, short track speed skating, speed skating, ice hockey and curling) as well as the location of the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre (large exhibition centre on right) for Beijing 2022 (Anthony Edgar)
Beijing 18 July 2017: The Beijing Olympic Green, the location for all ice sports (figure skating, short track speed skating, speed skating, ice hockey and curling) as well as the location of the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre (large exhibition centre on right) for Beijing 2022 (Anthony Edgar)

What is described as a “closed-loop management system” will be in place from January 23 until the end of the Paralympics. The Olympics run from February 4-20 and the Paralympics from March 4-13.

This version of the “bubble” will cover all Games-related areas, including arrival and departure, transport, accommodation, catering, competitions, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Within the closed loop, participants will be allowed to move only between Games-related venues for training, competitions and work. A dedicated Games transport system will be put in place.

All athletes and Games participants who are fully vaccinated will enter the “closed-loop management system” upon arrival in China. Those who are not fully vaccinated must spend 21 days in quarantine first.

Athletes who can provide a justified medical exemption for not getting vaccinated will have their cases considered.

All domestic and international Games participants and workforce inside the system will be undergoing daily testing.

All participants, besides the athletes and those delegation officials who are staying in the Olympic Villages, must reside in Beijing 2022-contracted hotels that will be compliant with the countermeasures in effect for the Games.

The IOC EB decided to cancel the accompanying guest category for all stakeholders as a way to limit the number of people coming to Beijing for the Games.

Beijing 2022 and the IOC said all activities are being assessed and optimized to make sure only the essential aspects of Games delivery are included.

While much of the plan resembles what was done in Tokyo, the IOC and IPC are pleased that domestic spectators will be allowed.

“This will facilitate the growth of winter sports in China by giving those spectators a first-hand Olympic and Paralympic experience of elite winter sports, as well as bringing a favourable atmosphere to the venues.

“However, all parties feel for the athletes and the spectators from around the world, knowing that the restriction on spectators from outside mainland China had to be put in place in order to ensure the safe holding of the Games this winter.”

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