UK’s COVID-19 Lockdown Extension Throws 149th Open into Disarray

Darren Clarke Open Championship
Darren Clarke celebrates winning the Open Championship on the 18th green during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George’s on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Ian Walton for R&A via Getty Images)

Last month, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers was hopeful that up to 30,000 spectators (or 75-percent of Royal St George’s 2011 40,000 capacity) would be able to attend each day of the Open Championship, scheduled for July 15-18, 2021.

However, plans were drawn up for as few as 10,000 to attend – or about 25-percent capacity – if the UK government extended its COVID-19 lockdowns.

And that’s exactly what happened on Monday evening as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that existing Covid-19 restrictions will remain in place until Monday, July 19 – the day after the 149th Open Championship concludes.

“Following this evening’s announcement by the Prime Minister to delay the move to Step 4 in the UK Government’s roadmap, we would like to reassure fans that we will shortly be able to confirm our arrangements for The 149th Open being held at Royal St George’s from 11-18 July,” The R&A said in a released statement.

“We are in active discussions with the UK Government and public health authorities regarding capacity levels for the Championship and hope to provide a definitive update for all ticket holders and hospitality guests in the next few days. We would like to thank all fans for their patience and support.”

The number of spectators permitted on the grounds at Royal St George’s should be finalised in the next few days, according to KentOnline.com.

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