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The bett1HULKS tournament in Cologne, which takes place this week in the German city, will be held from this Wednesday without an audience in the stands. Given the increase in cases of coronavirus in the city, health authorities reported that only 250 spectators could attend the stands instead of the 800 who have done so in previous days, which has put the organization in a new predicament that, to avoid controversy, it has decided that the rest of the first week of the tournament (the city will host a second tournament starting next Monday) be held without an audience in the stands.

Edwin Weindorfer, organizer of the tournament, accepted the decision but regretted the absence of public in the stands. “In the last few weeks we have been working intensively on a 59 page professional hygiene protocol which we have expanded and improved again. We are convinced that we would have organized both tournaments safely despite the current difficult situation. We are saddened and shocked that we now have to play with empty stands at the 20,000-seat Lanxess Arena. We especially regret that the people of Cologne, who have not been able to see the greats of tennis in a long time, cannot now watch tennis live. “

Barbara Rittner, tournament director, also justified the decision to hold the remainder of the tournament without an audience but also stated that, for now, the tickets for the second week are still valid. “For organizational reasons, 250 people cannot be selected from a group of 800. Thus, we will play bett1HULKS this week without spectators and we will refund the price of the ticket to those who have bought them. Tickets for the second week of the tournament continue being valid for the moment. We will closely follow the progress of events and, in coordination with the authorities, we will make a decision on attending the second tournament. “

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