Tokyo Olympics organizers plan to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages to spectators at competition venues during the global sporting event, but with restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The decision was apparently taken into consideration of a sponsorship deal with an alcoholic beverage company.
Seiko Hashimoto (right), chair of the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Toshiro Muto, CEO of the committee, prepare to speak at a press conference in Tokyo after attending discussions at five on spectator caps for the Olympics on June 21, 2021. (Pool photo) (Kyodo)
Organizers will likely set deadlines for such sales, the sources said, as the Japanese capital prepares for the games to start in about a month.
A spectator directive for the Tokyo Olympics, set to kick off on July 23, will be unveiled later this week. In his project, the organizers ask spectators to refrain from eating and drinking in groups in the passages of the sites, and to go directly to the sites without stopping anywhere, as part of the measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Seiko Hashimoto, chair of the games organizing committee, said on Monday that the sale of alcoholic beverages to spectators was “under review,” but depended on being able to deter people from speaking loudly or shouting and respecting security protocols when moving within the sites. .
The rules currently in place for the general public in Japan will also be a factor in determining whether these drinks can be sold, she said.
Also on Monday, organizers decided venues could be filled to 50 percent of their capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 spectators, after months of discussions about an attendance cap for local fans. Overseas spectators had already been banned.
In Tokyo and other prefectures currently in a near-state of emergency until July 11, serving alcohol in restaurants and bars is conditionally allowed until 7 p.m.
In the capital, people are now allowed to drink alcohol alone or in pairs for up to 90 minutes between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. in restaurants and bars certified as having taken measures to control the infection.
For areas subject to the state of emergency, the sale of alcohol during most sporting events was prohibited, while there were cases of time-limited sales in areas subject to the quasi-state of ’emergency.
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