ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Sports fans, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has really good news.
During his daily briefing on Tuesday, Cuomo announced the US Open tennis tournament will be held from Aug. 31-Sept. 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens.
“It will be held without fans, but we can watch it on TV, and I’ll take that,” Cuomo said.
In the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the need for safety first, individual sports like tennis are conducive to social distancing. However, strict health protocols will still be put in place to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing and transportation.
“The tennis authorities are going to be taking extraordinary precautions, but that’s going to take place,” Cuomo said.
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In a statement from USTA CEO and Executive Director Mike Dowse said, “We recognize the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times, and we will do so in the safest manner possible.”
The decision to play the tournament follows the PGA Tour returning to action last week with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
The US Open is normally the final of the season’s four majors, but due to the pandemic it will now be the second of three. The Australian Open was completed in early February, prior to the virus outbreak, the French Open was moved from its traditional May time slot to a week after the US Open ends, and Wimbledon was canceled outright.
It remains to be seen how many of the top players will attend. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, Ashleigh Barty, and four-time US Open champion Rafael Nadal is are among those who have expressed some reservations.
The governor said the main reason why the US Open can be held is because New York continues to have the upper hand in its battle against the virus. He said the state currently has its lowest number of hospitalizations and new deaths since the outbreak started back in mid-March.
He said more than 3 million tests have been administered in New York, adding that’s more than any state and any country per capita.
Hospital, Group Home Visitations
Cuomo said hospitals are now permitted to allow visitors, but at their discretion. Group homes can do the same starting Friday.
Both must follow state guidelines, which include time limits, use of personal protection equipment (PPE), and temperature checks.
“They have to tell the state if they’re allowing visitors, and, again, they have to follow state guidelines, masks, etc.,” Cuomo said.