The Australian Open’s quarantine arrangements for overseas players have been cast into doubt, after the owners of 36 penthouse suites in the building players were to be housed in objected to the plan.
Tennis stars from across the world were set to be put up in the Westin Melbourne under strict quarantine arrangements in the weeks prior to the Australian Open, however the owners of penthouse apartments in the building have objected to its use for international arrivals.
Hotel management has been accused of failing to properly consult with the owners of the penthouse apartments, some of home live in the building permanently.
The group of owners have labelled the risk of housing overseas athletes, who a due to arrive from January 15, as posing an ‘unacceptable health risk to them and the broader community’.
Speaking to The Age, the owner of one of the apartments, Mark Nicholson, labelled the plan ‘arrogant’.
“It‘s incredibly arrogant to ambush us this way as if it’s a done deal,” he said.
“There are substantive public health and legal issues that have not even been examined.”
"If we're prepared to take this very substantial risk by hosting the Australian Open, then it needs to be done in the safest way possible and you obviously wouldn't be picking a hotel that is integrated with residential apartments. It's not like it's the only hotel in Melbourne.”
Lawyers acting for the owner’s corporation told the hotel of their concerns on December 31, also requesting a copy of the quarantine agreement and emergency management plan.
Residents say they were only notified athletes would be housed in their building on December 23, days after the Victorian state government approved the plan on December 18.
The Australian Open now faces a potential delay, as the owners’ corporation threatens a Supreme Court injunction to put a halt to the plan.
Debate over Australian Open quarantine plan
Players are expected to arrive in Melbourne from mid-January, undertaking a mandatory two-week quarantine period that permits them to train for a maximum of five hours per day at Melbourne Park, site of the Australian Open.
A statement said players and their support teams will be tested prior to departing for Australia and then a minimum of five times during their quarantine period. If they test positive, they will be subject to standard quarantine arrangements until being cleared by public health officials.
The Australian Open was delayed by three weeks while plans were worked out for the quarantine arrangements.
Victoria state went through a serious second wave of COVID-19 infections in the last half of this year, resulting in more than 800 deaths after lockdowns and overnight curfews were instituted.
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