Is It Safe to Play Tennis During Corona Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a sudden halt to nearly all of our social and recreational activities which include most outdoor sports. SOPs and social distancing rules discourage gatherings and limit social interaction; as a result there are only a handful of sports and other physical activities left for the general population to turn to.
It is hard to come up with a sport that hasn’t been affected by the pandemic and people are uncertain about which sports can be played safely and how. Tennis has long been a very popular and much-loved sport, but how safe is it in the current situation?
Tennis Corona Safety: Is it safe to play tennis during the corona pandemic?
The short answer is that yes, it’s safe to play tennis during COVID-19 as long as proper precautions are taken. These guidelines could vary from area to area so it is necessary to check local information sources and keep yourself updated. Club authorities should ensure that all the people on the premises are following the safety guidelines mandated by the government.
The primary reason that tennis is considered to be safe is that it is a non-contact sport and doesn’t require that the players be in proximity unlike other sports such as rugby or soccer. There is a low risk of transmission as long as proper distance (6 feet) is maintained on the court and other SOPs are carefully followed.
General Covid-19 safety guidelines to follow
The USTA (United States Tennis Association) formed an advisory medical committee that provided a list of precautions that should be taken into consideration while playing tennis. These include:
For Tennis Players:
- Do not play if you came into contact with an infected person within the last 14 days or are exhibiting symptoms commonly associated with coronavirus
- Arrive as close to the time you have to be there as possible and do not engage in unnecessary social interaction before and after the game
- Wear a mask when not playing and avoid touching gates, benches and fences
- Keep a distance of 6 feet between yourself and other players and do not shake hands or high-five each other
- Partners should coordinate to ensure that they maintain physical separation while playing doubles
- Avoid touching the tennis balls directly and do not share playing equipment
- Bring your own towels, water bottles and food items
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue paper or cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer before and after playing
- Avoid using the locker room and changing area. Instead, leave directly after playing and shower and change at home.
For Tennis Clubs:
- Encourage staff, coaches, players, visitors and spectators to follow general COVID SOPs
- Limit the number of people allowed indoors
- Keep disposable face masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes at hand
- Rearrange the furniture so that visitors aren’t in close proximity to each other and distance is maintained
- Assign specific time slots to players that do not overlap so that the facility doesn’t get overcrowded at any time
- Make sure that safety protocols are being followed as per the local government’s instructions
- Prop open doors so that people can pass through without touching the doorknob or handle
- Ensure that the premises is well-ventilated
- Install signs regarding safety guidelines as well as hand sanitizer stations at frequently visited spots inside the facility
- Clean and disinfect surfaces, equipment and personal gear according to CDC guidelines
Indoors vs Outdoors Tennis
Tennis is regarded as a safe sport to play during this pandemic because it is usually played in the open air and does not require that the players come into close contact. This is particularly beneficial because Corona virus spreads through respiratory droplets and can be transmitted from an infected person to those who are standing close by.
With regards to indoor tennis, some might speculate that the risk of transmission increases due to the closed space. However, the general consensus right now is that indoor tennis is safe as long as proper safety measures are taken. These might be stricter than the rules outlined by the club or local authorities for outdoor tennis.
Tennis during Covid
To reduce the risk of transmission of Corona virus, it is essential to avoid social gatherings and follow physical distancing rules which means that it is difficult to play most sports safely. Consequently, this has affected the sales and revenue of companies associated with the production and distribution of sports equipment, with one exception— tennis.
It may be surprising for many that according to statistics, sales of tennis rackets have gone up considerably and the number of tennis players (compared to previous years) has increased as well. This could be due to the fact that tennis is a relatively safe sport to play with a low risk of transmission, in fact, the New York Post has ranked it as one of the top activities that are safe to do. So the outlook on tennis corona safety is quite positive.
Tennis also mobilizes many different parts of the body and provides a good workout especially when other options for exercise are limited during the pandemic. And being a highly popular sport, tennis courts and equipment are readily available everywhere. All these factors combined make tennis an ideal choice for those who are fed up with staying at home and want some fresh air and vigorous physical activity.
So, is it safe to play tennis during the corona pandemic? Pretty much, as long as proper safety precautions are taken and the guidelines provided by local or state authorities are kept in mind.