The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing will officially kick off with an Opening Ceremony on Feb. 4. The athletes, trainers, and coaches have descended upon the city in the hopes of walking away with medals for their respective countries.
Ahead of the start of the Olympic Games, viewers may be wondering about the protocols that will be in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and if fans will be in attendance during any of the events.
Will there be fans at the 2022 Olympics?
Ahead of the Opening Ceremony, in mid-January 2022, organizers for the 2022 Games published a Spectator Policy on the official website for the Olympics regarding fan attendance.
The organizers confirmed that a limited group of spectators, who reside in China, would be allowed at both the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"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 policy read. "The organizers expect that these spectators will strictly 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 announcement arrived less than four months after the pandemic prevention and control policy principles came out, which noted that tickets would only be available to fans living on China's mainland.
"One of the principles was that no tickets would be sold to spectators from outside China's mainland, and that tickets would be sold exclusively to spectators residing in China's mainland who meet the requirements of COVID-19 countermeasures," the policy continued.
Many COVID-19 rules are in place for the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The pandemic restrictions were front and center for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo (which took place one year after they were originally scheduled to because of the virus), and the COVID rules have continued for the 2022 Games as well.
All participating athletes are required to either be vaccinated, or to quarantine for three weeks before presenting a negative COVID test. Once the athletes have quarantined or shown their proof of vaccination (and report their health status each day for two weeks), they then enter a "closed loop," which is cut off from the rest of the city.
As part of the "closed loop," the Olympians will not interact with members of the public, which includes avoiding any sort of public transportation to and from the venues.
At the venues themselves, which will be cleaned frequently, those who are not competing or training will be required to wear masks at all times. In addition, hand sanitizer will be readily available at the venues in an attempt to stop or slow the spread of the virus.
Clapping is also encouraged in lieu of hugging, shouting, and cheering.
Coverage in the United States for the 2022 Olympics Games in Beijing will kick off with the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 4 at 6:30 a.m. ET. The closing ceremony will air on Feb. 20 at 7 a.m. ET.
The Paralympic Winter Games will be on from March 4 until March 13.
NBC is carrying the 2022 Games in the United States, and events will air on NBC, Peacock, USA, and CNBC.