NPB to maintain cap on spectator numbers till end of August
TOKYO (Kyodo July 23, 2020 (Mainichi Japan)) -- Nippon Professional Baseball officials and representatives of all 12 teams decided Thursday to stick to their 5,000-spectator per game limit, postponing a planned relaxation of the cap imposed due to the coronavirus until the end of August.
With coronavirus infections hitting all-time daily highs in Japan, the move is in line with the latest government guidelines on large gatherings that keep current restrictions in place through the end of August.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike urged residents of the capital to avoid nonessential outings during the four-day holiday from Thursday as Tokyo's cumulative coronavirus cases topped the 10,000 mark.
NPB resumed the 2020 season on June 19 after a three-month wait, but without fans in attendance. Up to 5,000 fans were allowed into the stadiums starting July 10. The plan had been to operate stadiums at half capacity from Aug. 1.
The return of baseball and soccer means a range of safety protocols -- including compulsory mask-wearing, temperature checks, and changes in concession arrangements, seating and cheering sections -- have been implemented.
The J-League said on Monday that its attendance caps would remain in place through Aug. 10.
Japan's professional soccer league also welcomed back fans into stadiums for matches on July 10, with attendance at venues capped at half of stadium capacity or a maximum of 5,000 people.
The second and third divisions resumed play on June 27 followed by J1 on July 4 after a nearly four-month hiatus.