Japanese Residents Will Be Allowed to Attend Tokyo Olympics as Spectators

A maximum of 10,000 fans will be allowed at events in the Olympic venues, though the rules could change if there is a COVID-19 outbreak

Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Man in mask standing near Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty

Local Japanese residents will be able to cheer on the world's top athletes in person next month, organizers of the Tokyo Summer Olympics announced this week.

During a Monday meeting, the International Olympic Committee, as well as the Japanese government and other Games leadership, said that up to 10,000 people, or 50 percent of capacity, will be allowed at all Olympic venues.

Those in attendance will be required to wear a mask at all times, and be prohibited from shouting or cheering. Spectators are encouraged to travel from their homes to the Olympic venues directly.

Should a coronavirus outbreak occur, the rules and admittance of spectators may change, the organizing parties said.

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In March, it was announced that no overseas spectators would be permitted to attend the Games. Citing the challenges of COVID-19 variants and restrictions on international travel, officials said in a press release that not allowing overseas spectators "will further contribute to ensure safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public."

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The ban includes the families of the competing athletes. Most have taken it in stride though, including U.S. swimmer Olivia Smoliga, who previously told PEOPLE that having fans watching the event home will be "enough."

"Just knowing that this is the biggest stage for sports period, and knowing that people are going to be watching at home on TVs, is enough I think for the athletes," the 26-year-old athlete said.

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics beginning July 23rd and the Tokyo Paralympics beginning August 24th on NBC.

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