Wimbledon eyeing reduced-capacity crowd in June

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Wimbledon organizers are planning for a reduced-capacity crowd at this year’s Grand Slam tournament, though other options remain, the All England Club said Thursday.

The club previously announced that the tournament, canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, would go ahead with or without fans. The three options are full capacity, reduced capacity or no fans.

“The majority of our planning focus is currently centered on the option of a reduced capacity Championships and how that would affect each stakeholder group, but we are not yet in a position to rule out any of the other scenarios,” the club said in a statement.

Wimbledon, called off last year for the first time since 1945, is scheduled to run from June 28-July 11.

“While the rollout of the vaccination program in the UK is a very heartening development,” the club said, ”it naturally remains too soon to know how this will impact public attendance at major events in the UK.”

With five months to go, “we are continuing to develop our detailed scenario planning” and working with public heath authorities to stay informed about developments.

“Our approach will be to remain as agile as possible and leave enough flexibility in our planning to adapt as required to the prevailing conditions in the summer,” the club said.

Britain has recorded more than 108,000 coronavirus-related deaths — highest in Europe.

Australian Open organizers say the year’s first Grand Slam will start as planned next Monday. Under the current plans, up to 30,000 spectators are expected daily at Melbourne Park for the two-week event.

The U.S. Open and French Open were held last year but with strict protocols to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus. No fans were allowed at Flushing Meadows, while Roland Garros was limited to 1,000 fans per day.

The All England Club said it plans to provide “regular updates as our plans develop.”

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