USTA issues a list of tips for playing safely during COVID-19 pandemic.
As the weather warms and states begin to slowly open for business, recreational players are poised to hit the courts.

How do we safely play tennis amid the coronavirus crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 46,000 Americans?

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The USTA today issued a list of tips for playing safely during COVID-19 pandemic.

First and foremost, make sure you live in a community where stay-at-home or shelter-in-place restrictions have been modified or listed.

The White House issued guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach it says is based on the advice of health care experts. Read that plan here.

Tennis can be great exercise and a welcome source of stress-relief during this coronavirus shutdown. The fact that it's a non-contact sport played on a 78-foot long court makes tennis an ideal social-distancing sport.

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If you're concerned about contracting the virus through touching a tennis ball, the USTA says that's unlikely but urges precautions while playing.

"Although there is no specific evidence that tennis balls can spread COVID-19, we know that contamination by respiratory droplets from an infected person can potentially survive on hard surfaces up to three days," the USTA said in a statement. "If you choose to play tennis, be sure to practice these safety tips and recommendations."

Safety Tips for Playing Tennis Amid Coronavirus

• Make sure that your state and region allow tennis play, satisfy the Federal Government’s gating criteria and have entered Phase One of the Phased Comeback.

• States and regions with no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy the gating criteria a second time may proceed to Phase Two of the Phased Comeback, in which all individuals, when in public recreation areas, should maximize physical distance from others.

• Be aware that although restrictions are eased when your state and region move from Phase One to Phase Two or Phase Three of the Phased Comeback, safety precautions must remain in place until there is a universal vaccine or effective treatment for the coronavirus.

• The USTA Medical Advisory Group highly recommends competitive players ease their way back into play prior to competition. Given the layoff from competing, players will be more susceptible to under-training, over-use and other injuries. The USTA strongly recommends at least three weeks of on court and off court conditioning before competition begins.

• Arrange to play only with family members or others who live in your household or with individuals who are considered to be low risk.

• Do not play if any of you:

Are exhibiting any symptoms of the coronavirus: mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing, or other symptoms identified by the CDC.

Have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

Are a vulnerable individual and your state and region is in Phase One or Phase Two.  A vulnerable individual is an elderly individual and/or an individual with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy. 

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