News Coronavirus Australian Open to play on – without crowds

Australian Open to play on – without crowds

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The Australian Open will continue without crowds as Victoria goes into a snap five-day hard lockdown after a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced on Friday the state would go into Stage 4 restrictions from 11.59pm Friday until 11.59pm on Wednesday as a “circuit breaker”.

The tournament is close to the halfway point, with some players already through to the fourth round.

It’s due to conclude on Sunday, February 21, with the mixed doubles final and men’s singles final.

Mr Andrews said crowds wouldn’t be permitted at any matches during the Victorian lockdown.

“AFLW or any other large or small professional sport events, they will function essentially as a workplace but they will not function as an entertainment event as there will be no crowds,” he said on Friday.

“The workforce will be the minimum that is needed in order for that to be COVID safe.”

In a statement, Tennis Australia said play would continue without spectators. Anyone who has bought tickets for any closed sessions will be refunded.

“Tennis Australia continues to work with the government to ensure the health and safety of everyone,” it said.

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley is due to address the media on Friday.