TOKYO – The Olympic Village has always been a fun place, home to thousands of young athletes and staff ready to party and share a few sparkling beers and toast.
But not at the Tokyo Olympics, which are due to open in just over six weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic. It will be the “No Cheers” Olympics, with testing and vaccinations taking priority over fun and games.
It is not clear whether alcohol will be allowed in the village, which will be home to 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympians. Organizers say they have yet to decide on a policy, which is expected by the end of the month.
Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, said on Wednesday that it might be difficult to ban alcohol in the private rooms of athletes in the village, but public spaces in the village could be a different matter.
“In the event that they have to drink in their own room, this equates to cases where we drink in our own home,” Muto said, speaking to Japanese media after an online meeting with the committee’s board. international olympic.
“Can we ban this? It’s not conceivable,” Muto added. “It would be very difficult to do.”
But Muto said alcohol could be banned from dining rooms and other public spaces in the village.
Tokyo and much of the rest of the country are in a state of emergency, with many bars and restaurants closing early and banning the sale of alcohol. The emergency order expires on June 20 and it is not clear whether it will be extended.
Depending on how the question is asked, 50 to 80% of Japanese people oppose hosting the Olympics. If the state of emergency is prolonged, many Japanese residents might not be happy to see athletes partying in the village while ordinary citizens cannot do the same in local pubs.
New cases of the coronavirus have been declining in Tokyo in recent weeks. Overall, Japan has attributed around 14,000 deaths to COVID-19, which is good by global standards but not as good as some Asian neighbors.
“We have not yet clearly decided on the [alcohol] political, “Muto said.” We hope to do that by the end of this month. “
Looking for more fun? There is the issue of GPS monitoring.
Muto said athletes, media, broadcasters and other participants will be required to sign papers allowing organizers to use GPS to monitor their movements at the Olympics via smartphones.
Athletes will be isolated in a village bubble and should stay there or be in similar bubbles at venues or training venues.
All other people entering Japan for the Olympics will be tested twice before leaving home and upon arriving in Japan. They will have to agree to limit their travel for the first 14 days and submit an activity plan.
“We’re not going to be monitoring behavior all the time,” Muto said. “It is not for that purpose. However, if there should be any problems with their activity, then, since the GPS function will be activated, we will be able to check their activities.”