No fans at Australian Open for 5 days due to COVID-19 fears

Australian Open Tennis
Posted at 10:09 PM, Feb 11, 2021

Fans will be banned from attending the Australian Open at Melbourne Park for five days from Saturday because of a COVID-19 outbreak at a quarantine hotel.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday announced a five-day lockdown starting a minute before midnight local time, imposing new restrictions that allow residents to only leave home to shop for essential supplies, care and caregiving, exercise and essential work.

The tournament will be allowed to continue as a workplace, but without crowds.

Schools will be closed Monday through Wednesday, and there will be no gatherings for weddings or religious services.

Fans arriving at Melbourne Park on Friday before the announcement were instructed at the entrance gates to maintain social-distancing, apply sanitizer to their hands and pull their masks up over their noses.

The Australian Open was the first Grand Slam tournament in a year to allow sizeable crowds.

After the COVID-19 outbreak became a pandemic, Wimbledon was canceled, fans were not allowed at the U.S. Open and the number of spectators at the French Open was heavily restricted.

Under the initial plan for the Australian Open, the government allowed up to 30,000 people daily at Melbourne Park, or about 50% of capacity. The biggest daily attendance in the first four days was 21,010 on Thursday.

The lockdown is set to end at midnight next Wednesday, when decisions on restrictions will be made.