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More of Britain’s COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, giving tennis fans a great deal of confidence in an increase in capacity for Wimbledon.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday he aimed to lift all restrictions and re-open the economy on June 21. Wimbledon is scheduled to begin one week later, on June 28.
While it may not mean a full house, at least 25% more fans will have the opportunity to attend the Grand Slam event than would be allowed under current protocols, according to a statement from the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
“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,” the AELTC said on Wednesday.
“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.”
Of course, having even a single soul in attendance is a victory, given that Wimbledon was the lone Grand Slam event cancelled in 2020.
Despite the decrease in cases and the re-opening of the country, Wimbledon will continue to place restrictions on the tennis players themselves.
That includes limiting player “entourages” to three individuals. Competitors will also have to stay in designated hotels, as opposed to the normal plush private housing near the courts.
But hey, an increase in capacity is undoubtedly a nice start for the sport’s biggest stage.