Aug 28 (Reuters) - The U.S. Open is scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 13 in New York. Following is a list of protocols drawn up by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to ensure the tournament can take place safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
* Matches will be played without spectators.
* All players competing in the U.S. Open must arrive for testing at least four days before the start of the tournament.
* A player testing positive for COVID-19 will be dropped from the tournament.
* Singles players will be allowed to bring up to three guests on site.
* Players and guests must pass two COVID-19 nasal swab tests 48 hours apart after their arrival. Access to the tournament site will be provided if the first test comes back negative. Once the second test comes back negative, the subsequent frequency of testing is every four days.
* Antibody tests are encouraged but not required. Those who test positive for antibodies will take follow-up tests every seven days.
* A multi-tiered system will be implemented based on roles and responsibilities during the tournament.
* Tier 1 -- Players and their guests, ATP, WTA staff and physios and tournament referees.
* Tier 2 -- Broadcasters and others with limited player interaction, including catering staff, security and ball persons. Tier 2 individuals will not be tested for antibodies and will be prohibited from accessing Arthur Ashe Stadium until they return a negative result from their initial PCR test.
A Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test looks for evidence that the virus is currently in your body.
* Tier 3 -- Other support staff including parking staff, vendors and delivery persons. Individuals in Tier 3 should not interact with those in Tier 1.
* Any player exiting the bubble without written consent from the event’s chief medical officer or tournament director Stacey Allaster will be withdrawn and fined. Guests and coaches leaving without permission will see their tournament access revoked.
* Locker rooms will be limited to 30 players at a time.
* Two official hotels have been reserved for players and their guests, but players can rent private houses.
* Players staying at rental homes need to pay for 24-hour security and individuals not part of the player’s approved group are prohibited from visiting.
* Players staying at the official hotel will not be able to drive themselves from the hotel to the site and will have to use the shuttle service provided by organisers. Players staying in private homes will need to arrange their own transportation.
* Social distancing and capacity restrictions will be put in at all fitness areas on site.
* Masks must be worn at all times except when eating and drinking. Players need not wear a mask when they are on-court for a match or practice.
* Enhanced cleaning and disinfection will take place each day and during regular intervals. (Compiled by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.