US Open tennis center to house temporary hospital

AP

Sports, Tennis

Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows will begin to be converted into a 350-bed medical facility

Entrance to the National Tennis Center in New York.

New York: The site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament here is going to be used for 350 temporary hospital beds and to prepare food packages during the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier says an area that houses indoor courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows will begin to be converted into a medical facility starting Tuesday.

New York state and city officials are trying to increase hospital capacity by up to 87,000 beds to handle the outbreak.

Widmaier adds that kitchens at Louis Armstrong Stadium -- the second-largest arena used for the Grand Slam tournament scheduled to begin in late August -- will be used for putting together 25,000 meal packages per day for patients, workers, volunteers and schoolchildren in the city.

The USTA originally had said it was going to keep the facility open for people to take lessons, practice or play tennis.

But then the group changed course and said it was shutting the site to the public.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the use of the tennis center.

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