- - Monday, February 13, 2012

LONDON — Officials have stark advice for Londoners planning to stay home this summer and deal with some 11 million visitors attending the Olympic Games:

Don’t get married, get sick, go to restaurants or theaters - or die.

“I would ask people that if you’re going to die, you’d better do it before the games or try and hang on till afterwards,” funeral director John Harris told a London newspaper.

City planners are bracing for massive traffic jams that could leave the sick stranded and ambulances stalled on the streets.

Commuters who already deal with a creaky London Underground could find the world’s oldest subway system grinding to a standstill. Restaurant owners fear they won’t get deliveries, and some theater producers are planning to shut down their shows.

Many residents are ready to get out of town.

“The anticipated hustle and bustle of Olympic London is clearly not for everyone,” said Michael Riegel, CEO of Wimdu U.K., which commissioned a survey that found one-quarter of London’s 7.8 million people want to escape the city.

About 15,000 athletes and 11 million ticket holders will descend on the city for the games from July 27 to Aug. 12.

Traffic officials fear gridlock along the 100-mile Olympic Route Network of traffic lanes reserved for athletes, sponsors and dignitaries, and worry about the closure of some of the bridges over the River Thames.

The London Ambulance Service expects an increase in demand of up to 9 percent during the games. It has drafted personnel from other ambulance services across Britain, and paramedics on bikes will be based at busy train stations to manage the rise in demand.

The authorities are calling on visitors to drink alcohol sensibly and wear sunscreen.

Visitors to the games may find no access to private doctors, said Dr. Penny Law, who runs a private medical service in central London.

She said that the National Health Service in London is making preparations for government medical care, but that no extra provisions have been made for those who prefer private health care, such as wealthy sponsors and members of visiting royal families.

“The hotels will be full, so we are putting on extra doctors at night, but private doctors are not allowed to use the [traffic] lanes for athletes and VIPs,” she said.

As part of the huge security operation around the games, vehicle access to the Olympic Park will be severely restricted.

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