Australian government health bosses will take a hard line when the Open begins on Monday, ruling that spectators will have to wear masks when seated inside a stadium with the roof closed.

The three showcourts at Melbourne Park will be treated as “rooms” if the moveable roofs have to be closed during the fortnight due to rain.

The Grand Slam which survived a positive COVID test scare at the weekend will still be allowed to open the gates for 30,000 spectators per day – half of the usual number in a country where COVID is under control.

Government advice was abruptly changed on Friday evening with the ruling on masks put into place.

“When the roof is closed at its venues with retractable roofs, these venues are deemed to be indoor spaces under the restrictions and mask use is required by all spectators and officials,” the state government said.

TD Craig Tiley said caution remains the order of the day: “Everyone being negative (during the weekend hotel worker positive test emergency) was a great outcome.

“But I can’t say that’s going to be the same tomorrow, or the next day. We’ll keep monitoring it.

 “There’s no such thing as no risk. There’s always a little bit of risk and our goal is to minimise that risk.

“We’ll get this done, we’ll have two weeks of great tennis and we’ll do our best to make sure it’s safe.”


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