(30 September 2021) The International Olympic Committee held an Executive Board meeting September 29, 2021, in the presence of the International Paralympic Committee. Beijing 2022 informed the Executive Board of the principles that will help deliver safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as scheduled.
The principles presented by Beijing 2022 will be detailed in documents referred to as Playbooks. The first version of these Playbooks will be released in late October 2021. A second version will then be published in December 2021.
The following preliminary principles were announced by the Executive Board.
What It Means
Participants who are not fully vaccinated will have to arrive in Beijing three weeks earlier than they might have planned to quarantine. This would seem to say unvaccinated athletes would lose three weeks of training time prior to the games if they cannot get an exemption - a disruption in training no athlete can afford.
The closed loop management system appears it will be organized as an extended "bubble," with participants confined to official hotels, venues, food service locations and the official transportation system. This would seem to preclude moving about the city outside of the bubble at any time, starting with arrival at the airport, and ending with departure at the end of the games.
There will be daily testing of all participants. Where and how this will be done is yet to be announced.
Participants will be required to stay in LOC-contracted hotels. Anyone who booked a non-contracted hotel will now have to try and obtain accommodations through the LOC, which is something that needed to be completed at the beginning of the year. This will no doubt induce sticker shock for some media who attempted to save on the cost of accommodations by not using LOC-contracted hotels. For example, earlier in the year it was possible to book non-contracted hotels for less than half the price of contracted hotels - in some cases a savings of over $2000 (or more) for a 20 day stay at the games. The LOC has announced adjustments to the accommodation booking and cancellation policies to deal with expected cancellations and new bookings.
Spectators from non-mainland China will be prohibited.
Rumors have swirled for several weeks concerning policies for participants at the games. One of these was the 21 day quarantine, which we now know applies to non-vaccinated participants. Another rumor concerns details of the vaccination policy, which we will not repeat, as the current policy announcement seems quite clear that fully vaccinated participants with WHO recognized vaccines will meet requirements.
One further rumor which we will repeat, is that media will not be allowed to bring their cell phones and computers into the country, and will be given LOC provided devices that will then be returned at the end of the games.
When first hearing of this, the purpose was hard to understand, but subsequently a news report out of Lithuania provided a hint of what may be involved here.
Recently the government of Lithuania advised its country's residents to stop using Chinese manufactured cell phones, as the devices were found to censor hundreds of terms in internet use that the Chines government finds objectionable. In addition, the devices are said to provide usage information to a server in Singapore, that is suspected of providing the usage information to Chinese authorities.
Putting two and two together, it is reasonable to suspect the purpose of the rumored games devices policy is to force all media to use devices that have installed malware that will allow Chinese authorities to monitor everything media say and do on the devices during the games. We have no proof of this, but it certainly sounds in-character for the Chinese government; and if the policy is implemented, a reasonable person would conduct themself assuming everything they do with the devices will be monitored by Chinese authorities.