Wimbledon bosses are set to roll the dice that COVID fears will have died down in London in six weeks and are hoping to increase attendance past the modest 25 per cent capacity mark.
British media reported that the club remains optimistic that more tickets can be sold for the June 28 start of an event which was not played last year due to the pandemic.
While extra-ordinary pandemic insurance provided a massive policy payout a year ago, that’s no longer the case, with the All England Club forced to compete in the 2021 marketplace like the rest of its rivals.
Official British policy seems to be in chaos, with travel to almost everywhere either banned or subject to massive restrictions which include 10-day quarantines and fines of up to GBP 10,000 (USD 14,000) for offenders.
But the cooler heads at the club are hoping the situation will be sorted in time to allow the sale of extra tickets at a tournament where daily crowds in excess of 40,000 normally pack the grounds during the busy first week of the grass fortnight.
London’s Daily Mail reports that officials are hoping to get permission for half-capacity
“Further to the Stage 3 relaxation of restrictions and early positive indications from the Event Research Programme, we are confident that we will be able to increase our ticketing capacities for The Championships this year beyond the minimum 25% position we set out last month,” a club statement read.
“This confidence is based in particular on the reintroduction of the rule of six indoors in restaurant settings from 17 May, and early indications that Stage 4 guidance could include similar relaxations of the guidance for sports stadia.”
Fears have been particularly marked recently over the Indian variant of COVID’ in another worrying development, statistics showing that the overall vaccination rate in London is well below the national average.
Increased Indian variant infections have been on the rise in boroughs surrounding Merton, where the All England Club is located.
As of now, anyone trying to enter the UK from the EU – save Portugal – is subject to home quarantine, though that situation will presumably be subject to future change.