In yet another devastating blow to the upcoming Summer Olympics, officials in Tokyo announced that no spectators will be allowed inside any Olympics venue due to a jump in coronavirus cases. The Games will take place under a COVID-19 state of emergency, which will be in place until August 22.
The decision to bar live crowds from events comes just two weeks before the opening ceremony.
The Japanese government pushed to remove fans from the equation, out of an abundance of caution, according to the AP. The decision essentially turns the Summer Games, one of the biggest live events on the television calendar and one of NBC’s signature broadcasts, into a made-for-TV spectacle.
Previously, it had been declared that only Japanese residents could attend the Games. But the increase in COVID cases linked to the highly-contagious Delta variant of the virus forced Japanese officials to make today’s decision to prohibit all spectators.
The no-fans edict as well as the state of emergency in Tokyo, has renewed calls by some that the Games should either be postponed for several more weeks, or canceled outright.
The Summer Olympics are set to begin on July 23.