INDIAN WELLS (CNS) - Due to the declaration of a public health emergency for Coachella Valley because of coronavirus concerns, this year's BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden was canceled today, tournament organizers announced.
The tennis tournament, often referred to as the fifth major, was scheduled to begin draw play Wednesday, with many players arriving early to practice and get a feel for the courts at Indian Wells, organizers said.
A statement issued by organizers quoted USC professor of Medicine and Bioengineering Dr. David Agus.
“There is too great a risk at this this time to the public health of the Riverside County area in holding a large gathering of this size,” Argus said.
“It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighboring areas for this tournament to proceed. We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak,” he said.
Earlier Sunday, Riverside County Public Health Department announced the county's first locally acquired case of COVID-19. County officials said a patient who tested positive was being treated at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage. It is the second case of the disease recorded in Riverside County, according to the Riverside University Health System; a former cruise ship passenger from the county was diagnosed recently and was recovering at a Northern California medical facility.
“The patient is in isolation and Eisenhower staff have taken appropriate precautions in the treatment of this patient. No further information about the patient will be provided at this time,” an Eisenhower spokesperson said.
“We appreciate the proactive stance tournament organizers are taking to ensure public health and safety,” said Martin Massiello, Eisenhower's executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Tournament Director Tommy Haas expressed regrets that the tourney required cancellation, but added, “We are prepared to hold the tournament on another date and will explore options.”
Any patron who purchased tickets directly from the tournament may request a refund for the 2020 tournament, or a credit for the 2021 tournament, according to tournament organizers. To do so, go to www.bnpparibasopen.com/coronavirus/.
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