Jan 17, 2022 - Sports

IOC no longer selling tickets for Winter Olympics to general public due to COVID

A Winter Olympics 2022 installation in Yongdingmen square, Beijing, on Jan. 16.

A Winter Olympics 2022 installation at Yongdingmen in Beijing, on Jan. 16. Photo: Fu Tian/China News Service via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee announced Monday that it will no longer sell tickets to the general public for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics because of "the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Why it matters: Beijing reported its first case of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus over the weekend, just weeks before the city begins hosting the games on Feb. 4.

What they're saying: The IOC said the change was "in order to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators." Spectators will instead be part of an "adapted programme that will invite groups of spectators to be present on site during the Games."

The big picture: Previously, based on coronavirus protocols released in September, the IOC was only selling tickets to spectators in mainland China who meet certain COVID-19 requirements.

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