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French Open to allow fans in stands at the tournament

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The French Open will allow up to 20,000 people to attend each day of this year’s tournament despite the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced on Thursday, July 2.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) also said that up to 10,000 people would be able to watch the finals and that it may increase the capacity should the situation with COVID-19 continue to improve in France.

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The clay-court tournament had been scheduled to start on May 24 but was postponed to Sept. 20 because of the global pandemic. 

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The FFT has prepared a health and safety protocol to ensure the safety of fans.

No more than four people can sit together in one group and there must also be one chair left empty between each mini-group of people in the same row. 

“The number of spectators allowed in the stadium will be 50%-60% of the usual capacity,” the FFT said. “This reduction will allow strict distancing measures to be respected.” 

Wearing masks is recommended but will not be obligatory when fans line up outside or sit in the stands, but must be worn when fans are moving around inside the grounds. Hand sanitizers will also be available. 

People should know the risks

“General public” tickets will be accessible to spectators around the world, without “purchase discrimination”, said FFT president Bernard Giudicelli. 

But FFT director general Jean-Francois Vilotte stressed that people should “know the risks” related to their country of residence and will not be able to be reimbursed for their ticket if the health authorities prohibit them from travelling to France. 

Unlike the US Open, Roland Garros will maintain its qualifying event in the week before the main draw. 

The US Open in New York is set to be the first Grand Slam since the coronavirus lockdown, starting on August 24, but is to be played behind closed doors, while Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II.

Rafael Nadal will be bidding for a record-extending 13th men’s singles crown, with Australian Ashleigh Barty defending the women’s title. 

Tickets will go on sale on July 16 for the Sept. 27 – Oct. 11 tournament. 

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