Scheduled sporting events have taken a big hit due to the growing global COVID19 epidemic. Earlier this month, the National Basketball Association suspended the current season indefinitely and Euro 2020 was postponed to 2021. Naturally, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) followed with their own announcement that the 2020 games will be postponed to a later date. This was undoubtedly a difficult decision for the committee. It’s worth noting that during the history of the modern Olympics, the games have only been canceled three times: 1916, 1940, and 1944 in the midst of world wars.
The Olympic Games in Tokyo were set to run between July 24, 2020 and August 9, 2020. The Paralympics were to follow between August 25, 2020 and September 6, 2020. In preparing for the event, Japan’s Public Health Authority focused their efforts on the prevention of spreading diseases like measles, rubella and food poisoning. Until recently, the spread of coronavirus was hardly on their radar. In the face of an unprecedented situation, the IOC’s official stance went through several iterations as the circumstances continued to evolve.
During a press conference on March 4, 2020, the IOC expressed in a statement its continuous commitment to deliver the games on time for the opening ceremony July 24, 2020. The IOC also encouraged athletes to continue with their preparation for the games and clarified that they were working closely with WHO and the United Nations on this matter. Again, on March 17, 2020 the committee issued a press release reiterating their commitment to delivering the Olympic Games safely and on time, taking everyone’s safety and the containment of the virus as a matter of utmost importance. Finally, on March 24 the president of the International Olympic Committee and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, issued a joint statement regretfully announcing that the Olympics will be postponed to a later date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.
If you had planned to attend but now are researching cancellation policies, we recommend starting with the IOC’s website for the most current information. They will actively inform the public on resources which may help with this process.
Please also consult the WHO website, local travel authorities and your airline for up-to-date medical information and travel restrictions.
While we at Bébé Voyage recommend following WHO guidelines on travel, we recognize that some of you may already be in the area during the time the Olympics were to be held and may need to entertain kids. The circumstances are highly unpredictable and we are not certain of extreme or emergency policies which may be in place at the time (shelter-in-place, lockdown, social distancing, etc.). However, if exploration is permissible, here is a short list of free activities around Tokyo.
Japan’s shrines are not only beautiful but are surrounded by several blocks of interesting shops and stalls. The shrine grounds are vast and perfectly picturesque for family photographs.
This area of Tokyo has plenty to offer:
- The famous Shibuya Crossing is one of the largest pedestrian crossings in the world. It is spectacular to watch the movement of people from above at the mall at Shibuya Station or Starbucks, especially at night. It’s particularly fun to take part in the crossing! So many people!
- The Hachiko Memorial Statue is located just outside Shibuya Station. It is a part of many childrens’ story books. It would be fun to read some of these with your kids to get them excited to visit the statue.
- The Mall near Shibuya Station is wonderful for a stroll with kids. Quick tip – all the malls have grocery stores in the basement with the most amazing fresh food options!
This park has events happening throughout the weekends, including festivals, live music, and live entertainment. These events are almost always free. This large park is the perfect place to take your family for a stroll to enjoy the scenery.
This street is just outside Harajuku Station and is famous for its fun food options, like rainbow cotton candy the size of a beach ball! It is lined with fun shops which make for a sensory adventure for kids.
Unfortunately, the Olympics aren’t the only events being canceled and postponed. Keep up to date with other cancellations and news from around the world in our live article.
Decided to play it safe and stay home this summer instead of traveling? Here are a few great ideas on how to keep the kids excited about traveling from your living room!
Need a little bit of good news in your life right now? Check out our article on all the positive effects COVID19 has had around the world.