It’s been fantastic seeing maskless fans able to attend the Australian Open open throughout the week, but the dream of being almost completely back to normal (up to 30,000 fans were allowed) was short-lived as the state of Victoria announced a five-day lockdown forcing the tournament to go on without spectators.
The lockdown started Saturday at midnight and at 11:30 PM (GMT +11), as the Novak Djokovic – Taylor Fritz third-round match was still going on, spectators were forced to leave the match. Spectators were not happy that they were having to leave the grounds.
Australian Open forces fans to leave the grounds to begin five-day lockdown. pic.twitter.com/1q7pmSbo5H
— Compress The Ball (@golfthatball) February 12, 2021
Top-ranked Djokovic continued his bid for a ninth Australian Open and 18th Grand Slam title overall by knocking off the American 7-6 (1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2.
Victoria’s decision to go into a lockdown is in response to authorities identifying 13 new cases tied to an employee of a quarantine hotel in Melbourne, who tested positive for the so-called United Kingdom coronavirus variant on Monday. In the previous 24 hours, five cases of the new strand had been identified.
Prior to the 13 new cases, Victoria had largely eliminated the virus having not seen a local infection for 28 days.
The state of Victoria will be under the following restrictions for five days, per the BBC:
- People must stay at home except for shopping, exercise, caregiving and essential work needs
- No gatherings allowed
- Travel is restricted to within 5km (3.1 miles) of the home
- Mask wearing is mandatory in public
- Places of worship and all non-essential venues are closed
- Schools are closed except for children of essential workers