Australian Open have ‘made the decision’ on coronavirus safety, admitting: ‘it’s not ideal, but positive’
The Australian Open have revealed their safety plans for 2021 as they join the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, although Craig Tiley admits things could change.
They were able to proceed as normal in 2020 as a pandemic wasn’t declared until roughly six weeks after the conclusion of the tournament.
Like everyone else, though, they are facing challenges moving forward, and they have confirmed players will have to quarantine upon arrival in Australia, stay at ‘bio-secure hotels,’ undergo regular Covid-19 testing, and travel in sealed transport.
There will also be restrictions on spectators, with overseas fans ‘unlikely’ to be there.
“We made that decision this week, to go with that scenario from a number of options,” AO chief Tiley said.
“We will not hit the numbers we had last year, a record 821,000 through the gates.
“Our fans will be from Melbourne and Victoria state, interstate, as well as potentially New Zealanders, if they lift border restrictions.
“But the 15 per cent we get from overseas will likely not be here.”
“There is no question with the current lockdown in Melbourne as not ideal for people today, but positive for the future,” Tiley said.
“If we get on top of the infection rate, we will all have learnt some good lessons.”
The US Open and French Open are, in many ways, the trail-blazers for major international tennis tournaments in the coronavirus age.
They each have their own plans to safeguard against a potential outbreak, and Tiley believes their success may be crucial to tennis, and the Australian Open, moving forward.
“They are both exploring mandatory testing, varying levels of quarantine and limited entourages,” Tiley said.
“Of course we are looking at all these options, and more, as part of our scenario planning.
“If conditions improve and the US Open and French Open go well and they have positive events, it will build the confidence of the players and help us here in Melbourne next year.”
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