(ATR) The staff at International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne will be working from home starting on March 16.
IOC headquarters in Lausanne will be almost empty beginning March 16. (ATR)
The IOC says the decision is part of changes “in order to support the concerted efforts to proactively limit the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus”.
The stay at home edict applies to all workers except those who handle “some essential functions”.
In a statement, the IOC says the changes won’t affect what it calls its “main priority” -- preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, “in particular the qualification process for athletes and teams”.
The IOC has also decided to close the Olympic Museum for two weeks, beginning on March 16. The museum regularly hosts more than 1,000 visitors per day. The situation will be reassessed after the initial two week period.
Employees at Olympic Channel Services (OCS) and Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) headquarters in Madrid have already been encouraged to work from home as part of a series of preventative measures announced by the Madrid Regional Government.
The IOC says that to this point there have been no reported coronavirus cases among the IOC’s respective staff members.
Tokyo Aquatics Centre Grand Opening Delayed
Tokyo Aquatics Centre (Wikimedia Commons)
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) announced on Friday the postponement of the grand opening ceremony of the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
The event was planned for March 22.
The TMG said in a statement that when the ceremony is rescheduled, it will not be open to the public.
The venue, which was constructed by the TMG, was completed on schedule at the end of February. It was the last of the eight permanent venues for Tokyo 2020 to be finished.
Tokyo 2020 organizers said on Friday that the grand start of the Olympic Torch Relay in Japan is going ahead in Fukushima on March 26, but that final details of public participation in the event will not be announced until at least one week beforehand.
Japan’s Olympic Minister Dismisses Trump Suggestion
U.S. President Donald Trump’s idea to postpone the Tokyo Olympics by a year is getting no love from Japan’s Olympic minister.
“The IOC and the organizing committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement — absolutely not at all,” Seiko Hashimoto told a news conference on Friday in Tokyo, as reported by the Associated Press
On Thursday, Trump told reporters at the White House that he was against holding the games without spectators.
“I just can’t see having no people there. Maybe, and this is just my idea, maybe they postpone it for a year.”
Hashimoto's response is in step with the stance taken by Tokyo 2020 organizers and all stakeholders in the Games since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
Tokyo 2020, in a statement later in the day on Friday, said "The IOC and Tokyo 2020 have also reconfirmed today that both parties will continue to stay in close collaboration with all relevant organisations as we prepare to deliver a safe and secure Tokyo 2020 Games opening on 24 July 2020 as planned.”
Written by Gerard Farek
For general comments or questions, click here.
Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.