(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Australian Open has refused entry to players who fail to comply with Victoria state vaccinations requirements, Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday.
As the tennis season returns, players will need to satisfy state registration requirements or their registration will be revoked, or there will be sanctions against tennis events in Victoria.
Andrews said the Australian Open did not plan to ban unvaccinated players or close the event to unvaccinated players but to stop their entry until they meet state requirements.
He said that while Victoria had completely changed its policy that unvaccinated children be allowed to play in the state, the Australian Open did not want to be left with a similar situation when its players were required to submit immunization records.
“We want to provide a very supportive environment for every player and every competitor at the Australian Open, but we simply cannot allow a loophole of any sort,” Andrews said.
Andrews has written to tennis authority Tennis Australia and the Australian Open Association to inform them of Victoria’s action. The Australian Open this year is held at Melbourne Park, in the southern city of Melbourne.
Andrews said the Indian Ocean coastal state will consider proposing further amendments to its immunization rules at a future date, with the goal of playing a lead role in educating parents and children in Australia and around the world about the benefits of immunization and how to comply with the law.
“I am grateful to Tennis Australia and the Australian Open Association for supporting this common sense approach. It’s been done to promote good public health,” Andrews said.
Bill Tilden, chairman of the Tennis Australia board of directors, welcomed Andrews’ approach, saying the organization supported taking a “more pro-active approach to the issue.”
“Given the significant potential public health implications of deliberately exposing children to diseases where there is no vaccine to prevent it and because of the considerable knowledge gap that exists on this issue, it is imperative that there is greater awareness of the health consequences of failing to comply with all immunization requirements.”
“What we are hearing here is great news that parents and their children understand the importance of complying with immunization requirements, and we encourage them to remain diligent in this regard,” he said.
An Australian Tennis Association spokesperson said the organization has long believed the Australian Open should operate according to the laws of each state, as does the Australian Professional Tennis League.
The spokesperson added that Melbourne Park receives many requests from players to be exempted from vaccination requirements, so the Australian Open understands that there are some who wish to play in a way that puts them at risk of contagious disease.