Tennis: French Open organisers braced for crowd limit of 1,000 due to Covid-19, down from initial plan to have 11,500

Tennis: French Open organisers braced for crowd limit of 1,000 due to Covid-19, down from initial plan to have 11,500

PARIS (AFP) – The French Open at Roland Garros was braced on Wednesday (Sept 23) to cut its crowd limit once again to as low as 1,000 fans a day after the government announced new limits in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

French tennis chiefs had already reduced the number of fans allowed in for the season’s concluding Grand Slam event, which starts on Sunday in Paris, to 5,000 just 10 days ago, down from 11,500.

However, on Wednesday, health minister Olivier Veran demanded new limits at sports grounds in 11 “red zones” in the country, one of which includes the French capital.

“To date, we have no confirmation on the conditions of organisation of the tournament,” said a French Tennis Federation spokesman.

This new ceiling of 5,000 will apply “from Saturday after consultation between the prefects and local elected officials”, said Veran.

The health minister also announced “the closure of sports halls and gymnasiums” because “they are confined spaces ….and which are unfortunately places of significant contamination”.

These new measures, which will last for a period of two weeks, also concern the areas of Bordeaux, Lyon, Nice, Lille, Toulouse, Saint-Etienne, Rennes, Rouen, Grenoble and Montpellier.