Organisers at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells stated on Friday that the players will not be allowed to give the towels to the ball-kids at the tournament next week over concerns of the spread of the new coronavirus or COVID-19.
The exchanging of the towels which are mostly sweaty between the players and the ball-kids has been a source of argument for a long time in regards to hygiene. The tournament officials stated that a chair will be placed at the back of the court where the players have to place their towels and fetch them from there.
Ball-kids will wear gloves over Coronavirus concerns
Ball-kids will also wear gloves. Player and fan interaction will also be limited and all common areas at the facility in the Southern California desert will be cleaned daily with an antiviral application, the tournament said.
Restaurant and food supply workers will wear gloves, N95 masks will be available if needed for first aid and health personnel. The tournament is coordinating with local hospitals and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to approve testing for individuals with symptoms. California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency following the death of an elderly person - the first fatality in the region from the virus.
The virus has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide, killed more than 3,400 people and spread across more than 90 nations.
(With agency inputs)