TOKYO: The board of the Japan Sumo Association on Monday decided to hold the November grand tournament with up to about 5,000 spectators per day amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The audience size for the bimonthly professional sumo tournament, set to begin on Nov. 8 at the Ryogoku Kokugikan hall in Tokyo, will double from 2,500, a quarter of full capacity, for the July and September tournaments.
Up to two people will be able to use each “masuseki” box area, normally used by four people, compared with only one person in the previous tournaments.
For chair seats on the second floor, spectators will sit two seats away from each other, closer than four seats previously. Two rows of “tamariseki” ringside seats will be used, but only for sponsors and officials.
Spectators will continue to be required to wear face masks and to refrain from cheering and drinking alcohol in the venue.
Eating in seats will not be allowed, but special places for eating and drinking will be prepared on each floor.
“It’s good to see the increase in the number of spectators allowed, but we have to take thorough steps under these circumstances,” said Shibatayama, the association’s public relations chief and former yokozuna Onokuni.