French Open to allow thousands of fans to attend

The French Open has announced that a large number of fans will be allowed to attend the tournament later this year.

Up to 60 percent of the grandstands at Roland Garros will be filled with tennis supporters for the event which was postponed from May 24 to September 27 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That equates to approximately 20,000 spectators in the early rounds of the grand slam and 10,000 for the finals.

“The number of spectators allowed in the stadium will be 50 percent – 60 percent of the usual capacity,” the French Tennis Federation said.

“This reduction will allow strict distancing measures to be respected.”

Masks will be recommended to fans but not compulsory when lining up outside or when seated in stands, however masks are mandatory for when supporters are walking around the Roland Garros venue.

Only four people can be seated together and one seat will be left vacant between groups of fans in a row. Hand sanitisers will also be provided throughout the tournament.

Tickets will go on sale on July 16 for the general public, however the amount of tickets available will depend on how the pandemic develops in the coming months.

“If the situation continues to improve, more tickets may be put on sale at the beginning of September,” a Roland Garros statement read.

“However, if the situation requires more stringent hygiene standards that force us to reduce the number of spectators on site, the tournament organisers will refund any supplementary tickets sold.

“The autumn edition of Roland-Garros will manage to combine the excitement of the world’s best clay court tournament with the strict adherence of the current hygiene measures.

Ashleigh Barty serves during the ladies singles final during the 2019 French Open at Roland Garros (Getty)

“In the same spirit of responsibility and according to the same strict method, the French Tennis Federation will apply a specific hygiene protocol for the players and their entourage. A press release about this protocol will be published at a later date.”

France has the world’s fifth-highest amount of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic (29,875) and recently there has been a spike in new cases, despite a promising decline in new deaths.

How the European nation handles the next two months in the lead-up to the French Open will determine whether the stance on Roland Garros will change.

Within the last month France has opened its borders to visitors from all European Union nations (27) and some non-EU nations like Switzerland, with no quarantine upon arrival necessary anymore, and most border checks abandoned.

This week it was also announced that from July 10 English holidayers returning from France would not need to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival back in their home country.

Much of Europe remains closed to Americans, Asians and tourists from other nations, but there should be exemptions for tennis players coming from abroad to Roland Garros.

– with AP

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