French Open to allow spectators amid COVID-19 concerns

Paris: The organisers of the upcoming French Open on Monday confirmed that spectators would be allowed inside the stadium despite the concerns regarding the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country.

The French Open is scheduled from September 27 to October 11 and stars like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Ashleigh Barty, and Simona Halep have already confirmed their availability for the competition.

The decision to let spectators attend was announced as health protocols were unveiled for the clay-court Grand Slam.

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“The French Tennis Federation has adopted a responsible organisation strategy by limiting the number of spectators at the tournament. Roland-Garros stadium, which spans just under 30 acres in total, will be split into three separate sites, each of which will include a show court and its surrounding outside courts,” the French Open organisers said in an official statement.

“In order to adhere to the maximum number of people authorised to gather in one place, the sites’ capacity will be limited to 5,000 spectators for the Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen sites, and 1,500 spectators for the Simonne-Mathieu site. These exceptional measures mean that the current health and safety guidelines can be respected,” it added.

Spectators will only be granted access to the area of the stadium shown on their numbered ticket. They can watch matches on all of the courts within the site, including the corresponding outside courts. Only the Simonne Mathieu site does not include outside courts, as per the statement.

“The qualifying rounds will be played without spectators, in order to make it easier for the players from the various ends of the draw to move around the stadium, as there are many players who will need to practice on-site in this first week. The players will be able to prepare for the tournament in peaceful conditions, as the stadium will be open just for them,” it informed.

On the show courts, one seat will be left empty on every row, between every group of purchasers (a maximum of 4 people who wish to sit in adjacent seats).

On the outside courts, every other seat will be out of bounds, and spectators may sit in any other available seat. The organisers have also confirmed that no “outside court” tickets will be sold for the 2020 tournament.

In order to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, the organisers have also asked for masks or face coverings to be worn by everyone over the age of 11, at all times.

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