PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The City of Pensacola shut down tennis courts and restrooms at public parks Monday evening adding to previous steps taken to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Parks will remain open, but Mayor Grover Robinson hopes people will still get out and enjoy the parks’ green spaces and trails.
Just before sunset Monday, city workers padlocked the doors to the tennis courts and took dwon the nets.
“We get it..whatever’s going to help us all get through this as soon as possible,” Laura Hedrick said.
Hedrick along with J.D. Vandenberg and their friends have self-quarantined together for the past few weeks. They were out on the courts when they were shut down.
“We’re bummed..we like having a break..I’ve just been studying and taking online exams all day so it’s nice to come out here and get some fresh air,” she said.
Shelby Greene and Ryan Couch also squeezed in one final match. They, too, have been in self-quarantine together. Like other people on the court Monday, they understand why this is happening.
“Because people don’t take it seriously and don’t do what they’re supposed to do, now we can’t even enjoy the tennis courts safely,” Greene said.
This adds to many other changes at city parks. Play grounds are closed. Basketball goals have been removed. Greene says the outdoor fitness area at Bayview Park has been packed with people.
“We’re not going near that, she said.
She has seen too many people on the tennis courts in recent days. She said one day there were 15 people on one court.
“We literally left when we saw all those people in one court,” Greene said. “I was like I’m sorry..I feel so uncomfortable that we left.”
The decision to close all tennis courts follows a recommendation released by the United States Tennis Association regarding the safety of playing tennis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although there are no specific studies on tennis and COVID-19, medical advisors believe there is the possibility that the virus responsible for COVID-19 could be transmitted through common sharing and handling of tennis balls, gate handles, benches, net posts and even court surfaces.
Florida is currently under a stay-at-home order but there are exceptions for recreational activities.