Up to 30,000 fans a day will be allowed to attend the Australian Open, Victoria’s minister for sports has announced.
A daily crowd capacity of 30,000 will be permitted for the first eight days of the tournament, split equally between day and night sessions. It will then be reduced to 25,000 from the quarterfinals—half the average attendance of previous years.
The Australian Open runs from 8th – 21st February in Melbourne. “Over fourteen days, it means there will be up to 390,000 people at Melbourne Park, about fifty per cent of the average over the past few years.
Players have started to leave hotel quarantine after completing their mandatory fourteen-day isolation period upon arrival in Australia. In early January more than seventeen hundred players, staff and others tied to the first Grand Slam of the year were flown into the country on chartered flights.
Most players were allowed out of their rooms for five hours a day to practise on court and exercise, but a smaller group of seventy-two players were fully confined to their rooms after coronavirus cases were discovered on their flights.
Melbourne endured one of the world’s longest lockdowns last year and many locals have concerns about the potential COVID-19 risk posed by the tournament.