Out of concerns for COVID-19 safety, the Victorian government has decided that ticket sales for Australian Open (AO) match sessions will be paused at 50 percent.
The Victorian Government issued a statement on Jan. 13 detailing this amendment with the intention of creating a “COVIDsafe environment” for patrons at the event.
“Ticket sales will be paused at 50 percent of capacity—where a session has not already sold to that level,” the statement read.
Tickets for the Men’s Final session have been selling out fast, with tickets currently sold out on Ticketmaster, and only hospitality-bundled tickets are remaining for non-affiliated ticket providers.
Face masks will also be mandatory for all patrons, except when eating or drinking. Additionally, a density limit of one person per two square metres for indoor hospitality venues will apply.
The Andrews government also stated that ventilation would be improved in indoor areas of Melbourne Park, with HEPA filters to be installed after an assessment of the venue.
The news of these changes comes as Victoria’s COVID-19 hospitalisations and cases rise. As of Jan. 14, there has been 34,836 new cases and 976 people hospitalised: way above the 851 hospitalisations during the peak of the Delta wave.
Acting Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Jaala Pulford said that “these updates to arrangements for the Australian Open will mean that fans, players, and the workforce can look forward to a terrific COVIDsafe event in Australia’s event capital.”
“Melbourne Park is the best place on the planet to watch the tennis, and thousands of spectators will be able to experience the iconic Australian Open from Monday.”
The Australian Open is a major event for Victoria and brings a major boost to the state’s businesses. In 2020, the tournament attracted 812,714 spectators and injected $387.7 million into state’s economy.
The Andrews Labor Government has invested near $1 billion into the redevelopment of Melbourne Park, with the AO to be held in Melbourne until at least 2044.
Another topic of great interest and concern for the AO patrons comes with the news that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is likely to be making a decision today in regards to whether he will execute ministerial power to deport tennis player Novak Djokovic or not.
Djokovic is scheduled to play against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of matches on Jan. 17 at the AO, despite visa uncertainties.
Meanwhile, deported Czech tennis player, Renata Voracova, has vowed to pursue Tennis Australia for compensation after she left the country on the weekend over a visa dispute.
The 2022 Australian Open commences on Monday, Jan. 17 and finishes with the Men’s Final on Jan. 30.