Less than a month before the start of the Winter Games, China made it official today that the general public will not be able to buy tickets for the Beijing Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic. China had already said fans from outside the country would not be allowed to attend events. And now only “selected” spectators will be allowed at the Games, further emphasizing how these Olympics will take place under much stricter conditions than what was imposed during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year.
The decision to not move forward with public ticket sales came two days after authorities reported the first case of the omicron variant in Beijing. “In terms of the grim and complex situation of epidemic prevention and control [and] in order to protect the health and safety of Olympic personnel and spectators, we have decided to change the original plan of public ticket sales,” the organizing committee said. All those invited to attend the Games will be required to “strictly comply with Covid-19 prevention and control requirements before, during and after watching the Games.” The committee did not go into details about what those requirements would be or how tickets would be distributed.
The Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing and neighboring Hebei province, will take place under what has been called a “closed loop” system that will keep athletes and others involved in the Games separate from the general public. The closed loop system will include the Olympic venues as well as official hotels and transportation services. Those who are fully vaccinated will be able to enter the closed loop without going into quarantine, while those who are not vaccinated will have to quarantine for 21 days. Participants will have to undergo daily testing and those who get a positive result will no longer be able to take part in the Winter Olympics.