THIS is a busy week for tennis clubs all over the Republic of Ireland as they re-open up their courts, though not their clubhouses, to ardent tennis players.
In line with this, Tennis Ireland has amended its guidance on Phase 1 of the government's roadmap to emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions, following clarification received that coaches are considered 'outdoor workers'.
Thus, club coaches can travel beyond the 5km radius to work within a club. Also, Tennis Ireland has clarified that coaches can work with two players who are not from the same household on one court but only when players are at opposite sides of the net to each other.
In this instance, coaching must not take place where players are side-by-side on one half of a court. Moreover, Tennis Ireland has also clarified that coaches can coach a maximum of three players from the same household on one court at any one time.
Social distancing measures should always be followed and such procedures for doing so should be outlined in the risk assessments prepared by coaches and presented to clubs for approval.
Regarding players over 70 years of age, who are often very active members, Tennis Ireland, via Sport Ireland, sought clarification from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on a number of items including the travel radius and sport for the cocooning population.
The department thus provided the following information:
"People should not travel outside the 5km limit to access facilities such as golf or tennis clubs. In relation to the cocooning population, the advice, currently, is that they may leave their houses for exercise but they should avoid contact with other people, even on a socially distanced basis.
"This advice does not recommend over 70s playing golf or tennis. However, it is not mandatory, it is advisory, so individuals can make their own decisions. Regarding Phase 1, it is important to remind all tennis cubs that the maintenance of social distancing is key.
"Undertaking good hand hygiene and cleaning regimes and the ready availability of hand sanitizing gels is something that every club should promote by having sanitizing gel available both in the clubhouse and adjacent to courts. Respiratory etiquette which includes coughing or sneezing into the elbow or a tissue, disposing of the tissue safely and then cleansing the hands.
"The risk of a second wave of the virus is ever present. As a sport, tennis players must be mindful that on account of tennis being one of the first to reopen, it will be under the spotlight and poor practice will be exposed and criticized widely, so follow protocol carefully."