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New health rules in place for Calgary tennis players, indoor courts still closed
CALGARY -- It’s a beautiful day in Calgary and 14-year-old Morgan Tuffs and her 12-year-old sister Brooke are happy to be back on the outdoor tennis courts at the Osten and Victor Alberta Tennis Centre.
Earlier this month, the Alberta government and health officials included outdoor tennis as part of the provinces reopening plan.
Morgan says it’s exciting to play again.
"It felt really good. Especially because we weren’t able to play for so long."
"It felt really good because I haven’t played for a couple of months."
Even still, Morgan, Brooke and other players have to follow strict guidelines when they’re playing on the outdoor court.
For instance, you’re not allowed to touch anything that’s not yours with your hands. Another example is when you enter the facility, you have to use your feet to open the gate.
Once inside the court, you have to use hand sanitizer and you have to mark you own tennis balls with your own initials.
If a ball ends up on your side of the court and it’s not yours. You have to flip it back to your partner using a racquet only.
Nick Coutts, the head instructor at Osten and Victor, says things have gone very well with all the players.
“I think it’s developing new routines and new normal. But everyone seems to be adapting pretty fast to the new safety protocols.”
While the outdoor courts are full of activity, the same can’t be said for the inside. The Alberta Tennis Centre, along with arenas and other recreation centres, remain shut down.
Danny Da Costa, CEO of the Alberta Tennis Centre says that’s frustrating.
“Well you know I think the province has unfortunately labelled us as a recreational facility,” he said.
“We’re very different than your typical YMCA and other recreational facilities. You know if you look at our tennis centre it’s 71,000 square feet. 60,000 of that is tennis courts.”
Da Costa says he’s already sent the city and the province a detailed plan of how they can make the indoor game just as safe as the outdoor game without waiting for Phase 3 of reopening.
Hockey parents and kids also want arenas to be part of Phase 2, which is slated for Phase 3.
Good news is it sounds like the province and health officials are listening.
“We are looking as part of the proposal that we’ll be bringing do forward at opening recreational facilities such as arenas, rec centres and fitness facilities,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, during her Wednesday update.
Da Costa says he’s confident indoor tennis meets all of those guidelines. The province is expected to have more information on possible reopenings next week.
Meanwhile, mayor Naheed Nenshi also thinks arenas could open, but not for hockey games.
He says they can only open for drills and practice as well as for figure skating.