KEEN TO PLAY: Lance Bennett, Dane Sharker, Rod McPheat and Don Cameron at the Emerald tennis courts, which were reopened for use on May 8.
KEEN TO PLAY: Lance Bennett, Dane Sharker, Rod McPheat and Don Cameron at the Emerald tennis courts, which were reopened for use on May 8.

Tennis courts are back open for business

TENNIS courts across the region were reopened this morning in a move that could pave the way for other sports facilities to open.

Emerald Tennis Club has worked alongside Central Highlands Regional Council to provide another recreational activity for community members.

Emerald Club Secretary Lance Bennett said he was extremely proud of the council for making a decision that would bring a sense of normalcy to residents.

“Our community has done an exceptionally good job of keeping this virus away and as a reward, council is opening these facilities,” he said.

“People have been very restricted on what they can and can’t do.

“This is a great opportunity to do something different rather than just walking on the footpaths.”

All council-owned tennis courts have reopened including Emerald, Springsure, Rolleston, Blackwater, Tieri, Dingo, Bluff and Bauhinia.

The reopening also brings a strict set of guidelines to ensure social distancing requirements are maintained.

Don Cameron and Dane Sharker at the Emerald tennis courts, which were reopened for use on May 8.
Don Cameron and Dane Sharker at the Emerald tennis courts, which were reopened for use on May 8.

Only 10 people can be at the facility at any one time, with a maximum of two people on each court with social distancing in place.

The courts can only be used for recreational activity, with no club competitions or coaching to take place.

Facilities will be open free of charge, but users need to make a booking directly with the relevant club.

Mr Bennett said it was important the guidelines were followed, which could lead to the opening of other recreational sports.

“If we can prove to council we can manage this, it opens the gates for other sporting and clubs that can maintain social distancing,” he said.

“All of a sudden there’s other sports in the region that can have some form of limited play and that’s what we want, that’s what our community badly wants.”

Participants can only book one-hour windows and must receive confirmation from the club before visiting the facility.

The Emerald tennis courts were reopened for use on May 8, with strict rules in place to enforce social distancing.
The Emerald tennis courts were reopened for use on May 8, with strict rules in place to enforce social distancing.

“Don’t rock up and think you’ll get a hit if you haven’t made that booking,” Mr Bennett said.

Users must be off the court and leave the facility before the hour is up, and the next players should stay in the car until their hour begins to avoid a 20-person cross over.

Police have been notified and will help in enforcing the rules.

The Emerald tennis courts will have three courts open every day from 7am to 10pm, although the toilet facilities will be closed.

Mr Bennett said no hire racquets would be available, although the club would be open to buy tennis balls or racquets on request.

For more information or to request a timeslot at Emerald, call or text Lance on 0413 665 543, Jack on 0429 155 315 or Don on 0439 877 797.


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