The next edition of the Summer Olympic Games is set for July 2021 in Tokyo, Japan, with the world’s biggest international sporting event having been delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The postponement of such a global, high-value event may not wind up being the only monumental change associated with the Tokyo edition, however, as organizers are now reportedly considering simplifying the Games’ format in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Simplification, according to The Japan Times, could come in the form of a reduction in the number of spectators, as well as a potential scaling back of both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Additionally, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily quoted an unnamed source as saying that everyone including athletes, officials, and spectators would be required to take a test for the virus.
“The top priority is to avoid the worst scenario of cancelling the Games,” an unnamed government source told the daily.
Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya declined to offer further details as a press conference later on Thursday, saying only that discussions were ongoing.
“At this stage we do not have any concrete outcome,” he said, adding that discussions about coronavirus countermeasures would be held “from this autumn onwards.”
“Concerning the spread of the novel coronavirus, particularly the situation next summer and how the world will look like is something very ambiguous,” he added. (Barron’s)
In the meantime, with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifting the state of emergency statuses in the last remaining prefectures last week, Tokyo Olympic organizers have now headed back to the office.
Tokyo 2020 staff has been working from home for the last 2 months, but have now returned to their communal workspaces, where they adhere to strict social distances, hand-washing, and transmission risk-reduction procedures.
As Tokyo 2020 International Communications Senior Manager Tristan Lavier posted on Twitter, “Back to the office after 2 months WFH. Precautions in order but it feels good to be back. ‘New normal’ means #Tokyo2020 teams work on rotation so the open-space doesn’t exceed 50% capacity, w/ masks, hand washing, and social distance. Village is ready, waiting for the athletes.
Back in the office after 2 months WFH. Precautions are in order but it feels good to be back. 'New normal' means #Tokyo2020 teams work on rotation so the open-space doesn't exceed 50% capacity, w/ masks, hand washing & social distance. Village is ready, waiting for the athletes. pic.twitter.com/6766D7n8el
— Tristan Lavier (@trilavier) May 31, 2020