(ATR) Tokyo 2020 organizers do not want any spectators along the course for the Olympic marathon and race walk events being held in Sapporo.
The decision to ask the public to refrain from coming out and watching the events was made at a technical working group meeting on Tuesday among Tokyo 2020 organizers, the Hokkaido and Sapporo city governments and the Hokkaido Police.
The authorities say the change, which will affect events in Sapporo between August 5 and August 8, was made due to the current Covid-19 situation in Japan.
The increasing number of infections has also forced the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Tuesday to keep the Olympic Torch Relay off public roads through central districts of Tokyo during the entire 15-day leg through the capital.
Spectators will not be allowed except on small islands within the Tokyo metropolitan area. Spectators last week had been banned for the first eight days of the 15-day leg.
The 1,300 or so people who were to run with the torch on public roads will instead take part in torch-lighting ceremonies held behind closed doors.
The question of how many spectators will be allowed to watch at the venues for the Games could be determined later this week during a meeting among the main Tokyo 2020 stakeholders, including the IOC and IPC.
A spectator cap currently in place would allow for 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 10,000 people. But those figures were reached with the understanding that the quasi-state of emergency in place for Tokyo until July 11 would be lifted in time for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics on July 23.
With the number of infections rising since the state of emergency was lifted late last month, it seems unlikely that the current restrictions will be removed.
Written by Gerard Farek
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