WASHINGTON, March 31, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday evening that facilities at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center, the site of the US Open, will be turned into a temporary hospital in the coronavirus crisis in New York City.
In an article on its website, “Queens Stadium to Be Converted Into Temporary Hospital in Coronavirus Fight,” WSJ reporter Katie Honan wrote: “New York City’s emergency management office plans to build a 350-bed facility at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park as efforts intensity to supplement hospital space as the U.S. battles the coronavirus pandemic.”
Honan reported that construction “could begin as early as Tuesday at an indoor training center at the facility, which has multiple courts and wide spaces, according to a spokesman for the US. Tennis Association.”
According to ESPN.com, “New York state and city officials are trying to increase hospital capacity by up to 87,000 beds to handle the outbreak” from the coronavirus.
The Indoor Training Center will 350 house beds and Louis Armstrong Stadium, the second largest stadium on the National Tennis Center grounds, will be a commissary used to make food for patients, health care workers, volunteers and underprivileged city schoolchildren.
As of March 23, the National Tennis Center was closed for play and instructional opportunities through May 3.
USTA website addresses US Open status
With the rapidly changing conditions to the pro tennis calendar, which will become clearer with the expected cancellation on Wednesday by the All England Club of the Wimbledon Championships, it’s a fair question to ask: Will the 2020 US Open be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak?
According to current information on USTA.com, the USTA’s website, it says: “At the moment we are not implementing any operational changes to the 2020 US Open, and plans for the event are ongoing. However, the USTA recognizes that this is a very fluid and rapidly changing situation, and we are therefore carefully monitoring CDC and governmental updates, as well as conducting regular briefings with medical and security experts.
“The health and safety of all those who attend, work and compete at the US Open will be at the forefront of any future decisions regarding the US Open.”