The U.S. Tennis Associated (USTA) changed its policy on COVID-19 vaccines for the 2021 U.S. Open months after tickets went on sale and previously stating unvaccinated fans are allowed to watch the two-week Grand Slam tournament in New York.
Just days before the main draw is set to begin, the USTA announced in a statement they have been informed by the New York City mayor’s office that proof-of-vaccination documents will be required to enter Arthur Ashe Stadium, the main arena at the National Tennis Center.
“Given the continuing evolution of the Delta variant and in keeping with our intention to put the health and safety of our fans first, the USTA will extend the Mayor’s requirement to all U.S. Open ticket holders 12-years-old and older,” the USTA statement reads.
“Any U.S. Open attendee with tickets to Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, The Grandstand, or the grounds of the U.S. Open, will be required to provide proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to enter the grounds.,” it added.
USTA statement regarding proof of vaccination to enter the US Open: pic.twitter.com/nf3ivZZM0i
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2021
The tennis tournament is set to begin on Aug. 30 and fans are requested to bring a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card or a photo or photocopy of the card as a way to prove their vaccination status.
In an earlier statement, the USTA said spectators would not be required to wear masks or show proof of their vaccination status to attend matches at the U.S. Open.
A USTA spokesperson told The New York Post that following the new mandate, a ticket holder who hasn’t been vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus is encouraged to get the jab, sell their ticket to someone who is vaccinated, or go to refund options on the Ticketmaster website.
“The goal is not to prevent all cases of COVID. The goal, really, is to be certain that we don’t have an outbreak of COVID that’s going to be unusual or that we would regret,” Dr. Brian Hainline, a USTA first vice president and member of its medical advisory group, said on a conference call with reporters earlier this week.
Players are not required to get vaccinated against the CCP virus to compete in the tournament, the USTA previously announced after some players expressed reluctance to get the shot. If a player tests positive, they will be forced to isolate for 10 days and withdraw from the tournament.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.