Crews in Armstrong, working two different shifts between 6 a.m. to 11 p.m six days per week, are packaging meals for COVID-19 patients, workers at the city’s various crisis centers and underprivileged children who customarily rely on breakfast and lunch provided at school. (New York public schools were closed by de Blasio on March 16.)
“The city needs to provide in excess of 100,000 meals per day,” Zausner said. “Our crews are producing about 25,000 boxes of food a day. Each of those boxes contains six meals, which is supposed to last a person for two days. So we’re making about 150,000 meals per day.”
USTA officials still plan to hold the US Open, traditionally the last Grand Slam event of the year, for two weeks starting Aug. 24. Shortly after All-England Club officials announced the cancellation of Wimbledon on Wednesday, the USTA released a statement that said: “We understand the unique circumstances facing the All England Lawn and Tennis Club and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon Championships. At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.”
That plan assumes that the NTC will no longer be functioning as a temporary hospital, but it’s unknown if that will be the case come mid-August.
“We’re a tenant of the [New York] city,” Zausner said. “We’re here to support the city and support Queens. They understand the importance of the US Open, an economic engine that generates some $800 million each year. As an overflow for Elmhurst, it’s assumed that as soon as they get ahead of the [coronavirus] curve, they can get back to being a regular hospital. It’s not like Elmhurst will end up empty and we’ll be full.”
Ultimately, some potential US Open visitors might be concerned that the ITC will remain contaminated and pose a threat after the hospital has been disassembled. Zausner is confident that won’t be the case.
“We’ll all want to return to normalcy as soon as possible,” Zausner said. “A lot of the early stage work involves putting protective coverings on the floors and other exposed areas. The ITC will be sterilized when the time comes to break down the hospital. It will probably end up being cleaner than it’s ever been.”