The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are providing an opportunity show off the strengths of plastics — such as the urethane in bindings, skis and snowboards on the slopes — as well as a reminder that China is taking its COVID-19 precautions very seriously.
Social media posts have buzzed about what some people termed "dystopian" images of bartenders and other support personnel at Olympic venues and athlete housing clad head-to-toe in personal protective equipment.
Like the summer games in Tokyo in 2021, this COVID-era competition eliminates most of the in-person audience. Organizers in Beijing also ramped up safety protocols, even within the "closed-loop" system of the athletes' Olympic village. That's not a surprise. Since COVID was first detected in China in late 2019, the country has had some of the most strict protocols, including shutting down regions with millions of residents.
As athletes including former gold medalist snowboarder Shaun White showed in their social media stream, they have to wear masks and also don plastic gloves when they go through the cafeteria lines. Behind the counters, workers have face shields and PPE gowns and aprons. Bartenders working within the Olympics area are dressed as if they're handling nuclear materials and not simply mixing a cosmopolitan, Reuters wrote.