Tokyo, Japan - May 22 2019: Promotional event to recruit volunteers for the organization of the 2019 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games to be held in Japan

In a normal Olympics, the Village and particularly the dining hall areas are places where athletes can relax, converse, and forget about the pressures of competition for a while. This year —unfortunately but understandably so — the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) COVID-19 guidelines tell a drastically different tale for how athletes should approach their meals from distancing, disinfecting and even the amount of time they should spend in the vicinity.


As Fox 5 San Diego reports, the IOC distributed a ‘Playbook’ that includes both requirements and recommendations for athletes to keep the dining hall as infection-proof as possible:




For starters, dining hall entrants are expected to disinfect their hands both upon entry and exit from the dining halls. When it comes to distancing in wait lines, proximity to athletes is more strict than regular patrons with two meters of space expected for competitors compared to one meter for everyone else. Once patrons are finished eating (which the IOC recommends goes as quickly as possible) they are then expected to clean off seats and tables with sanitizing wipes.


Athletes in the form of social media postings have also revealed other safety measure being taken. Australian Olympian Tilly Kearns posted a video indicating that athletes not only have their hands sanitized, but they double up with disposable gloves prior to making contract with anything in the dining area. The tables themselves also have plexiglass dividers for further safety.


Extra Measures


Along with the IOC standard protocols, many athletes themselves aren’t taking much to chance. For Kearns and her fellow teammates, they’ve set extra rules from themselves to lower their chances of exposure including a maximum of ten minutes once their meals have started, and fresh masks to put on before heading to the disinfection station to wipe off their tables and chairs.


To read more on the unique measures being taken in the most unique Olympics yet, check out our previous reporting on safety Village protocols.