US Tightens Open Protocols, Fans Must Submit Evidence of Covid

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Under pressure from Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city leaders, the United States Tennis Association reversed lax coronavirus protocols for the upcoming US Open tournament, which opened to thousands of fans on Monday.

Initially, the tournament did not require any proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test for fans to enter, and there was no mask requirement. But the mayor’s office stepped in in the last two days, demanding stricter protocols.

On Friday evening, the tournament announced on its Twitter account that proof of at least one vaccination shot will be required for all fans aged 12 and over to enter the field. Mask is not required.

The mayor’s office was adamant about instilling fans into Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest stadium on the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. But the USTA has taken it a step further and made it a necessity for all fans entering the tournament arena.

“Today, the USTA was informed that the mayor of New York will require proof of the Covid-19 vaccine for entry to Arthur Ashe Stadium,” the statement said. Said. “Given the continued evolution of the Delta variant, and in line with our intent to put the health and safety of our fans first, the USTA will extend the mayor’s requirement to all US Open ticket holders aged 12 and older.”

De Blasio wasn’t the only city official concerned about the potential for a major coronavirus outbreak. After the tournament announced Wednesday that no vaccines or masks would be required, City Council member Mark Levine from Manhattan said he was “concerned” that the US Open could become a super-emissive event, especially with large numbers of visitors from around the world. the world and the country visit the tournament in Queens and during their visit they also enter Manhattan.

Reached after the tournament reversal on Friday, Levine was pleased with his reversal.

“I feel tremendous relief,” he said, “just in time with the crowd expected to arrive on Monday.”

Levine pointed out that as ticket holders only need to take one shot, they have time before the tournament starts if they are motivated.

“No fans are excluded unless they want to,” he said. “This is not a cruel measure.”

Tournament organizers said they will add “additional measures” to speed up the process of checking vaccination records at points of entry.

The USTA said it developed its original protocols for fans within guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the city’s Department of Health and the mayor’s office. But since then, he said, the mayor has introduced the Key to NYC Pass, which requires indoor dining, entertainment and recreation bosses and employees to prove they’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The mayor was particularly concerned that fans were filling Arthur Ashe Stadium with the roof down. The USTA claims that the ventilation inside the stadium is sufficient for it to be considered an outdoor venue, even when the roof is closed—like one of New York’s two baseball stadiums.

The mayor insisted that the USTA either require proof of a dose of Covid vaccine or keep the roof open at all times, which could cause programming headaches in case of rain.

Players are not required to be vaccinated, but are tested upon arrival at the tournament and every four days thereafter. If they test positive, they should withdraw from the tournament.

Ticket holders who do not wish to provide proof of vaccination may request a refund.

“Whether or not you want to get vaccinated, I think it should always be a personal decision,” said Novak Djokovic, who entered the tournament to become the first male or female player to win a Grand Slam since Steffi Graf. 1988. “So, I support that. Whether someone wants to get vaccinated is entirely up to them. I hope it stays that way.”

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