Outlook optimistic for French Open and Tour de France

France's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu has sounded a note of optimism regarding the outlook for major events that the country is due to host this summer including tennis' French Open and the Tour de France.

But she also struck a note of caution, emphasising that late changes are still possible.

President Emmanuel Macron last week said fans would be allowed to gradually return to the arenas, with up to 5,000 spectators on the main showcourts by the end of the French Open, which takes place between 30 May and 13 June, while most restrictions are expected to be lifted shortly after the start of the Tour de France which runs from 27 June to 19 July.

"Today we are rather on a positive outlook with a vaccination campaign in full swing, with the possibility for many people to do a lot of PCR tests and the greater integration of social distancing," Maracineanu told Reuters.


More than 16 million people in France have received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine and all adults will be eligible for vaccination on 15 June.

Court Philippe-Chatrier at Roland Garros

Testing for Covid-19 symptoms is free for all in the country.

From 19 May, up to 1,000 supporters will be allowed in sports stadiums, with the limit to be raised to 5,000 on 9 June.

But Maracineanu said the government could backtrack on those restriction-easing measures if the health situation were to deteriorate.

"Something that may be decided today may change a week before the event, or two days before the event, depending on the evolution of the health crisis," she said.

"If we offer this visibility to the participants and organisers today, they know that this visibility can be modified according to the evolution of the transmission of the virus."

Maracineanu added that organisers and the sports ministry were still fine-tuning health protocols for the athletes involved.

French Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu at the 2020 French Open Women's Singles final

"I hope that there are no last-minute changes (in the health situation) and that we can work on these protocols sufficiently in advance to know where we stand," she explained.

"We have been working on them for two months with French Open organisers, and we're starting now with the Tour organisers."

All French athletes and staff members taking part in the Tokyo Olympics will be fully vaccinated when the Games start on 23 July.

"We've also integrated into the campaign the athletes who can qualify but have not yet wrapped up their qualification. We owe it to Japan to send a majority of athletes who are vaccinated," she said, adding that vaccination was optional.



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