The Australian Open is facing yet another major disruption according to reports, with the owners of 36 penthouse apartments in the hotel set to house hundreds of tennis players threatening to launch a legal challenge.
The Westin Melbourne has been selected to host the majority of players arriving internationally for the two-week quarantine period, with the first expected to arrive on January 15th, ahead of the rescheduled February 8th start date.
But according to The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, the apartment owners, many of whom live permanently in the hotel, have claimed they were not properly consulted about the plans from Tennis Australia by the hotel and are considering a last-minute injunction to the Supreme Court over the health risk it poses to them and the community.
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Under the plan from Tennis Australia, all international players will be required to spend 14 days in quarantine at the Westin but will be allowed to leave the hotel for one daily block of five hours of practice and treatment.
They will all be tested for COVID-19 at least five times during the course of their stay and will be supervised at all times while outside of the hotel for training.
It was signed off by the Victorian government on December 18th, but apartment owners were only notified on December 23rd and insist they never agreed to the plan, despite sharing 30 per cent of the common areas within the hotel.
“It’s incredibly arrogant to ambush us this way as if it’s a done deal. There are substantive public health and legal issues that have not even been examined,” apartment owner Mark Nicholson told The Age and the SMH.
Another resident, Digby Lewis added: “At 84, I’m in the vulnerable group and it’s shocking the way they tried to ram this through without any attempt to consult with us. I’m more than happy to toss in $10,000 or $20,000 to help the legal fight; it’s bloody shocking.”