Tennis clubs across County Wicklow have welcomed the reopening of their facilities as part of Phase One of the lifting of restrictions associated with COVID-19.
As part of the first roll-out of lockdown easing on May 18, tennis clubs, golf clubs, and other individual, outdoor exercise hubs have been given permission to reopen as long as operations can be conducted in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
Speaking to the Wicklow People, Wicklow Tennis Club administrator, Sinead Nolan, said that it was a relief to get the courts back open again.
'People are very happy and delighted to be back. They are a little bit nervous, as well. They know that schools and creches are closed so it is a place for children to come, although that is being policed. They'll have to be informed as to how to do it all correctly.'
Meanwhile, chairperson of County Wicklow LTC in Bray, Alan Connolly, said: 'When it came to it, tennis and golf are probably two sports that you can manage social distancing.
'As a result, we probably expected that they would be the easiest ones to reopen, so we are delighted. It is great to see the club back open again.
As a result of social distancing requirements, and in conjunction with guidelines issued by Tennis Ireland, clubs have implemented several new procedures in order to make sure that the game can be played in as safe and hygienic a fashion as possible.
Amongst these new guidelines that clubs have introduced are staggered playing times, members-only access to courts, the introduction of hand sanitizer at entrances and exits, a requirement for players to use their own balls and equipment, the closing of clubhouses, check-ins upon entry for the purpose of contact tracing, and many more.-
Praising the cooperation from members towards the new rules, Connolly said: 'They're delighted that the courts are open. The only negative feedback we would have gotten, initially, was that we were advising that over-70s should not play tennis because that was the general guidance, but that advice has changed so they can play.'