Australian Open to welcome 30,000 maskless fans a day

by Jeffrey Swindoll · Jan 31st, 2021 10:39 am

Last Updated Feb 1st, 2021 at 2:38 pm

The Australian Open, a Grand Slam tennis tournament beginning on February 8, will admit up to 30,000 fans per day, and due to Australia's successful efforts at limiting the spread of coronavirus, neither players nor fans will be required to wear masks.

"It'll mean that over the 14 days, we will have up to 390,000 people here at Melbourne and that's about 50% of the average over the last three years," said Martin Pakula, the Victoria state sports minister, on Saturday. "It will not be the same as the last few years but it will be the most significant international event with crowds that the world has seen in many, many months."

Players and their entourages, totaling over 1,000 people, were required to do a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Australia. The quarantine has allowed players to now spend time out of their hotels for extended periods with hardly any restrictions.

"We've got the best players in the world and they, over the last 24 hours, have been getting out of quarantine," tournament chief Craig Tiley said. "I've seen a few of them this morning and contrary to what some players said 10 days ago, the majority of them - 99.9% - are absolutely happy to be out and very appreciative of our efforts to protect them."

The sight of players and fans at a pre-tournament exhibition match without masks delighted many on social media, including former tennis greats Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova.


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