Olympics-Organisers warn participants against eating out over COVID-19 risks

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Preview
Police officers patrol outside the National Stadium, the main venue of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Naoki Ogura

July 20, 2021

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TOKYO (Reuters) -Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have warned accredited participants against visiting restaurants that open after 8 p.m. or serve alcohol, citing a “grave reputational risk”, according to the note they sent out.

Japan has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo that will run through its hosting of the Olympics. Public concern has grown that staging an event with tens of thousands of overseas athletes, officials and journalists could accelerate infection rates in Japan’s capital and introduce variants that are more infectious or deadlier.

Japanese media reported cases where those accredited for the Games were seen drinking in Tokyo’s downtown areas or violating quarantines.

“These incidents have also been raised in the National Diet, and have the potential to severely damage the reputation of the Tokyo 2020 Games and your organisations,” the organisers said, referring to the recent media reports in Japan.

The organisers told the attendees to “not visit restaurants that are open after 20:00 or that serve alcohol.”

“Even after your first 14 days in Japan, this will be perceived as visiting a business that operates illegally and could constitute a grave reputational risk to yourself, your organisation, and the Tokyo 2020 Games,” said the note sent to COVID-19 liaison officers responsible for ensuring the participants follow the protocols.

Spectators have been barred from almost all events and infections have hit a number of teams arriving in Japan less than a week ahead of the July 23 opening ceremony.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park and Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Hugh Lawson)