The current restrictions can only be applied if the courts are staffed. City courts are free to use, operate on a first come, first served basis, but are unstaffed.
“The restrictions are in place now through April 26, so they could be eased at that time,” DeNeire said.
At present, games and competitions are not permitted under provincial rules. Individuals cannot throw a ball at each other as this is also considered a game. Persons under the age of 18 may only participate in conditioning or skills training. A maximum of eight people per group requires each individual to distance themselves three meters from another person, which is essentially one person per field on either side of that area. They must each wear a mask. And for adults, there are other restrictions. Conditioning and skills training should only be done by ball machines or by an instructor working with the player.
“We have no staff, we have no way of enforcing what is going on there in a confined space because it is fenced in,” DeNeire said.
As a result, she said the administration does not recommend that the city open outdoor tennis courts until some type of limited play is allowed and some restrictions have been lifted by the SHA.
“Unfortunately, that’s where we are now with the tennis courts. As soon as it opens up more, we’ll jump at the opportunity, ”DeNeire said.
People can go to the Field House which is staffed for skills development, for example hitting a ball against the wall. But again, no type of game or volley between individuals is allowed.
Some board members asked if the province’s new business response team that helps businesses with COVID-19 information might be able to help.
City manager Randy Patrick said the problem is that the city owns the tennis court, which is closed. The city is therefore responsible. If there were any violations of health restrictions, the city would be fined.
On why the skatepark can be open but the tennis courts cannot, DeNeire said the skatepark activity is viewed by the province as an individual game involving one person and a skateboard. While tennis courts are considered under physical activity guidelines which have different restrictions.
“This is the response we received from the trade response team,” she said. “They’re not saying you can’t open your tennis courts. But they say you have to follow all of these rules. So if you are under 18 these are the rules, if you are over 18 these are the rules. And the only way to do that is to have them watched, and [ours] are not monitored.
Mayor David Gillan acknowledged administration concerns that the problem of not being able to open outdoor tennis courts is due to strict regulations in the province.
“So it’s impractical. It’s just that we can’t find a solution here, ”he said.
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