The International Olympic Committee announced Monday that while local fans will be allowed to attend the Tokyo Olympics, there will be strict limits on the number of people permitted at each venue.

According to organizers, a capacity limit of 50%, or up to a maximum of 10,000 fans, will be set for all Olympic venues.

The announcement from the IOC comes after China’s leading medical advisor Dr. Shigeru Omi said last week that holding the Olympics during the pandemic was “abnormal,” CNBC reported.

Omi has said the safest way to hold the event is to eliminate fans from the stands as the virus could spread on commuter trains, restaurants, and other public places, ABC News said.

Japanese media has reported that up to 20,000 local fans might attend the opening ceremony over and above the athlete count, but CEO Toshiro Muto said he thought that number would be less, ABC News reported.

The Olympic Games start in 32 days, on July 23. A total of 3.7 million tickets are currently in the hands of Japanese citizens, according to CNBC. Muto said a lottery system will be used to decide which local fans can attend the Olympic events, ABC News said.

The IOC banned international fans from attending the Olympics several months prior to Monday’s decision.

However, additional requirements will be imposed on local fans, including mask requirements at all venues at all times, the prohibition of speaking in loud voices and shouting, and the avoidance of congestion areas, organizers said in a statement. They also said visitors should leave venues in a “staggered manner” and “travel directly to venues and return home directly” before and after Olympic events.

Japan is under a semi-emergency coronavirus pandemic status until July 11, with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who supports fans at the Olympics, saying (via CNBC), “If a state of emergency is necessary, I will be flexible and open to no fans in order to achieve that the games give top priority to safety and security for the people,”

Suga continued, “In case of a state of emergency, it is quite possible ... for safe and secure (games) I will not hesitate to have no fans.”

Only 16.5% of Japanese residents have had at least one COVID-19 shot, with 6.5% of citizens being fully vaccinated, according to data from the prime minister’s office as reported by CNBC.

Japan has had over 14,000 COVID-19 deaths and over 786,000 positive cases of the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Cancelling the Tokyo Olympics would be unprecedented in peacetime
Cancelling the Tokyo Olympics would be unprecedented in peacetime AFP / Kazuhiro NOGI