The BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, which was scheduled to begin Monday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in the Coachella Valley, has been canceled after Riverside County officials declared a public health emergency Sunday after detecting a locally acquired case of the COVID-19 virus, officials said.
The tournament had been set to begin Monday and continue through March 22.
But in the wake of Saturday’s announcement that a Riverside County resident had acquired the novel coronavirus in the community, coupled with the designation of a public health emergency on Friday, officials were prompted to call off the event, the organizer said in a written statement.
“We are very disappointed that the tournament will not take place, but the health and safety of the local community, fans, players, volunteers, sponsors, employees, vendors, and everyone involved with the event is of paramount importance,” Tournament Director Tommy Haas said. “We are prepared to hold the tournament on another date and will explore options.”
Those who bought tickets directly from the tournament were being offered a refund or a credit for the 2021 BPN Paribas Open. More information is available on the tournament website.
USC Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering Dr. David Angus said canceling the event was the right call.
“There is too great a risk, at this time, to the public health of the Riverside County area in holding a large gathering of this size,” he said.
““It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighboring areas for this tournament to proceed,” Angus added. “We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak.”
Staff at Eisenhower Health also applauded the decision.
“We appreciate the proactive stance tournament organizers are taking to ensure public health and safety,” Eisenhower Health Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Martin Massiello said.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the date the tournament was scheduled to begin. The story has been updated.