Yokohama Stadium is scheduled to hold three baseball games at around 80% capacity later this month as Japan looks to test its COVID-19 countermeasures at big events ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics next year.
Professional sports stadiums in Japan have since been limited to up to 50% capacity as part of efforts to curb the spread of the global pandemic. This has henceforth allowed the vast majority of games to go on without issue.
Japan’s Economic revitalization minister, Mr. Yasutoshi Nishimura, who doubles as the head of Japan’s COVID-19 fight, told reporters that if the planned assessment becomes a success all professional stadiums will be allowed to operate at a greater capacity.
A spokesperson for the Yokohama Baystars, who play at the 34,000-capacity Yokohama Stadium, confirmed in a statement that a total number of three games would be played at the venue with capacity set at around 80%. This stadium is scheduled to be used for the Olympic games.
On Thursday the 14th of October the Tokyo Dome, a venue where the Yomiuri Giants hosted the Hiroshima Carp, attendance was about 19,000, and Covid19 countermeasures were successfully carried out. Body temperature was constantly checked upon entry and further precautions such as disinfection took place throughout the venue. The stadium can host up to 45,000 fans who will have to give their contact details to staff in case of an outbreak.
Giants fans have promised to change their most popular chant and vow to involve less yelling and vigorous movement which is believed may spread the virus. Besides these changes, there was no sign of the ‘uriko’ or beer vendor who usually brings drinks to fans in their seats.
Yamada did say that Tokyo 2020 officials have visited the stadium and have been able to see the countermeasures for themselves.
Fans said they felt safe with the additional measures put in place and were thrilled to be back on the pitch to watch their beloved teams.
Tokyo Games organizers who have yet to decide whether to allow spectators into venues during the Olympics told Reuters they would be able to assess the impact of the countermeasures on show at the dome.
It’s since evident that by now over seven million tickets have already been sold for the Games; a sign that fans are more than ready for the competitions.