The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has led to a lot of changes for sports venues, and one of the latest has the U.S. Open tennis facilities at Flushing Meadows set to be converted to a medical facility. Here’s more on that from The Associated Press:
The site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York is going to be used for 350 temporary hospital beds and to prepare food packages during the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier says an area that houses indoor courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows will begin to be converted into a medical facility starting Tuesday.
New York state and city officials are trying to increase hospital capacity by up to 87,000 beds to handle the outbreak.
Widmaier adds that kitchens at Louis Armstrong Stadium — the second-largest arena used for the Grand Slam tournament scheduled to begin in late August — will be used for putting together 25,000 meal packages per day for patients, workers, volunteers and schoolchildren in the city.
The U.S. Open tournament itself isn’t scheduled to begin until late August, so it’s still possible that it could take place at Flushing Meadows then if the pandemic has lessened by that point. But that’s far from a sure thing. For now, it seems positive that the facilities there are being used to help with this pandemic, which has hit New York hard. There’s a need of hospital capacity and food capacity, and the Flushing Meadows site can help with both. It’s a very different use than what we’d normally see there, but it’s also a logical one.