The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home to the US Open, will become a temporary hospital as coronavirus cases rise in New York.
A 350-bed hospital facility is under construction at the @USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as New York City continues to respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) March 31, 2020
“It’s an incredibly small part, but it’s the least we can do,” USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Chief Operating Officer Danny Zausner said in a press release.
“Elmhurst Hospital in Queens is a stone’s throw away from the tennis center,” he added. “For us to be in the local community where our hands are tied, but to support the local community and help take some pressure off of Elmhurst Hospital is a huge thing for us to help out in any way we can.”
The temporary hospital will 350 beds and 100,000 square feet of “supplemental hospital space.” The first patients to be treated at the temporary hospital are expected next week. (RELATED: USNS Comfort Cruises Into New York Harbor)
“There are two ways of looking at this,” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday during a press briefing held at the NTC. “If you want to say the glass is half empty, you would say these tennis courts symbolize what we’re all going through right now. We’d all like to go back to the times when things were normal and people were out here playing tennis. We all feel that, I feel that. We miss it and it’s sad. But we also know that this crisis will not go on forever. It will be very intense, but thank God, it will be brief.”