The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Wednesday various rules and restrictions that will be put in place for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, highlighted by a return for spectators at the Games after they were absent this summer in Tokyo.
Fans will be back in the stands in Beijing, but only residents of mainland China will be eligible to purchase tickets.
“Tickets will be sold exclusively to spectators residing in China’s mainland, who meet the requirements of the COVID-19 countermeasures,” the IOC said in a release, adding that the specific countermeasures are still being determined.
“The IOC and IPC welcome the decision to allow for the sale of tickets to spectators residing in China’s mainland. 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 favorable 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.”
This marks the second consecutive Olympics where international spectators won’t be allowed.
At the Tokyo 2020 Games this past summer, domestic spectators from Japan were initially going to be permitted in Olympic venues before the decision was ultimately made they would not be allowed after the country entered a state of emergency due to COVID-19.
Other announcements made by the IOC included the vaccination policy, the closed-loop management system to be implemented at the Games, and the daily testing requirements.
VACCINATION RULES & CLOSED-LOOP SYSTEM
After the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) announced last week that all 2022 U.S. Olympians and Olympic hopefuls would be required to be vaccinated, the rules implemented for the Games certainly encourage athletes to do so, though it’s not a requirement.
Fully vaccinated athletes and Games participants will enter a “closed-loop management system” upon their arrival in Beijing, while those who are not fully vaccinated will be subjected to a 21-day quarantine.
In Tokyo, the IOC strongly encouraged athletes to get vaccinated, and many National Olympic Committees followed suit.
“This closed-loop management system will cover all Games-related areas, including arrival and departure, transport, accommodation, catering, competitions, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies,” the IOC release says.
“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.”
The closed-loop management system will be in place from Jan. 23 until the end of the Paralympics.
Just like they were at the Tokyo Games, all Games participants within the closed-loop system will be subjected to daily COVID-19 testing.
Further information regarding the implementation of the IOC’s policies and COVID-19 countermeasures will be detailed in the Playbooks, which will be released in late October and December.
The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will take place February 4-20, and the Paralympics will follow March 4-13.