Organizers for the postponed Tokyo Summer Olympic Games are placing a number of coronavirus-related restrictions on spectators coming out to witness the traditional relay of the Olympic torch.
The relay will begin March 25 in the northwestern prefecture of Fukushima, the site of the March 2011 nuclear disaster triggered by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
Yukihiko Nunomura, the vice director general of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, announced Thursday that spectators will be required to wear masks, and will not be allowed to eat or drink except for water to avoid heatstroke. Cheering and shouting is also banned, but spectators can clap as the torch relay passes by.
Organizers say spectators will be required to preregister for a spot at each relay point to witness the torch’s arrival, but Nunomura said the relay could be stopped if too many spectators gather along the route.
The Tokyo Olympics were scheduled for last July and August, but organizers and then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to postpone the event until this year as the novel coronavirus pandemic began spreading across the globe.
With Tokyo and other parts of Japan under a state of emergency to quell a surge of new infections, however, recent public opinion polls indicate an overwhelming majority of Japanese believe the games should be postponed again or canceled.
The opening ceremony for the postponed Tokyo Games will be held on July 23.