U.S. Open Venue to Be Converted into Temporary 350-Bed Hospital Amid COVID-19

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 31, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29:  A general view of Arthur Ashe Stadium as Serena Williams of the United States and Carina Witthoeft of Germany take the court prior to their women's singles second round match on Day Three of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

An indoor training area in Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which hosts tennis' U.S. Open annually in Queens, New York, will house a temporary 350-bed facility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Katie Honan of the Wall Street Journal first reported the news. USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier confirmed the report to Julia Marsh and Tamar Lapin of the New York Post.

A spokesman for New York City's emergency management office told the Post that the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park site will likely be for non-COVID-19 patients, although that is subject to change based on need. Construction is slated to begin Tuesday.

Widmaier also said that Louis Armstrong Stadium, which is located in the complex, will be designated for meal packaging. The goal is to make 25,000 meals for those in need, including patients, public school children and healthcare workers.

The news about the tennis center's newfound purpose comes in light of makeshift hospitals appearing in New York, which has 38,087 confirmed cases as of Monday at 4:30 p.m., per the state's health department.

A 68-bed hospital is being constructed in Manhattan's Central Park, per Ron Lee of NY1.

Per Marsh and Lapin, the Army Corps of Engineers turned Manhattan's Javits Center into a 2,910-bed facility, and the 1,000-bed USNS Comfort hospital ship has docked in New York Harbor.