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Indian Wells announces raft of health and safety measures against coronavirus

Indian Wells organisers announce a raft of health and safety measures for Masters 1000 tournament which runs from March 11-22

A ball girl in action during the first round match between Denis Kudla of the United States and Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan on day four of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 07, 2019 in Indian Wells, California.
Image: Ball boys and girls will wear gloves as organisers announce Coronavirus countermeasures at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells

Tennis players at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells will have to manage their own towels on court and ball boys and girls will wear gloves as organisers announce coronavirus countermeasures.

The measures were announced Friday by tournament organisers, who are offering fans uneasy about the coronavirus a refund for this year's event, which runs from runs from March 11-22, or a credit for next year.

Other precautions include over 250 hand sanitising stations set up throughout the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Besides ball kids, restaurant and food supply workers will wear gloves as will volunteers handling tickets at entrances.

Actions include:

  • More than 250 hand sanitising stations have been placed throughout the facility.
  • Players will be required to manage their own towel on court and ball kids will not touch or move player towels. A chair will be placed at the back of the court for them to place their towel on for usage during the match
  • Ball kids will wear gloves.
  • Restaurant and food supply workers will wear gloves.
  • Volunteers taking tickets at entrances will wear gloves.
  • N95 masks are being secured for first aid and health personnel to be prepared for any circumstances that would necessitate the use thereof.
  • Organised player and fan interaction will be limited at the tournament.
  • All common areas throughout the facility will be cleaned daily with an antiviral application.
  • Coordinating with local hospital and CDC approved testing for all individuals with symptoms.

This year's field at the combined ATP and WTA event includes world No 1 Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff.

A general view of Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the Indian Wells final
Image: Indian Wells is the venue for the first Masters 1000 of the year

The WTA and ATP have also jointly announced a series of precautionary health measures that will be implemented on-site in Indian Wells, the Miami Open and the Volvo Car Open in Charleston.

  • Players and mascots will not hold hands when walking out on court.
  • Ball kids will be provided with gloves to wear on court.
  • Ball kids will not handle player towels during matches.
  • Ball kids will not handle player drinks during matches.
  • Players will be instructed to not distribute used towels, headbands, shirts, sweatbands, etc. to fans following matches or practice.
  • Players will not accept pens, tennis balls or other items to hold for autograph signing.

"The health and safety of our players, fans, staff and tournament personnel is paramount and, as the outbreak of COVID-19 continues, these are common sense precautions for us to take," said the ATP and WTA in a joint statement. "We continue to monitor this closely on a daily basis, working with our players and tournaments, as well as public health authorities as the situation evolves globally."

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