There will still be people in the stands, though.
The 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will look a little different this year, as tickets will not be sold to the general public. The Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee announced the decision days after the city of Beijing reported its first case of the Omicron variant on Jan. 15. Obviously, a big part of the Olympic Games is the thousands of fans that fill each stadium to cheer on their country. So the big question going around is: Will fans be allowed at the 2022 Olympics? Well, sort of. It’s actually kind of complicated.
On Jan. 17, the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee issued a statement addressing the recent protocol. “Given the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators, it has been decided that tickets should not be sold anymore but be part of an adapted program that will invite groups of spectators to be present on-site during the Games,” the statement said.
Now, with a little less than three weeks until the opening ceremony on Feb. 4, all spectators via the third party ticket host must “abide by the COVID-19 countermeasures before, during, and after each event so as to help create an absolutely safe environment for the athletes,” the issue said.
The new COVID-19 regulations come after a Sept. 29, 2021 statement from the committee that originally said that no tickets would be sold to individuals who live outside China. Additionally, the statement read all tickets would be sold exclusively to China’s residents who met the COVID-19 countermeasures. However, the Jan. 17 statement did not clarify how current tickets holders should proceed with the new regulations.
Along with the Sept. 29 statement, the Olympic committee had set safety measures in line for athletes as well but no new policies have yet been updated for game participants at this time.
The city of Beijing will also be ramping up its travel safety policies for all individuals arriving in the city. Starting Jan. 22, all arrivals are expected to test for COVID-19 within 72 hours of stepping foot in the capital city. The policy will last through the end of March.
As for the fans looking forward to watching the event from home, the Winter Olympics will air on NBC from Feb. 4 through Feb. 20 and will be followed by the Paralympic Winter Games from March 4 to March 13.