ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – As Washington County officials gear up to reopen the local economy this week, the City of St. George is also loosening restrictions on some of the area’s most popular outdoor sports facilities.

Starting Tuesday, all pickleball courts owned by the city of St. George — as well as tennis and sand volleyball courts — are back open to the public.

Although pickleball is a popular sport among all age groups, city leaders noted that it’s also loved by one of our most at-risk age groups: residents 65 years and older, who represented the majority of players ABC4 News saw at the packed Little Valley Pickleball Complex Tuesday morning. 

Players filled nearly every one of the 24 outdoor pickle ball courts, included those coming from nearby Mesquite, Nevada.

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“It is so exciting to have these courts open again,” St. George resident Diane Cliff said. “We have a lot of happy people. People come to play from 6 in the morning until late at night.”

St. George Mayor Jon Pike said he feels comfortable making this decision — one he says the Southwest Utah Public Health Department also approved of — as city leaders observe the overall few cases of coronavirus in Southwest Utah and the lack of COVID-19 hospitalizations for two weeks now. 

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“I’m glad that we were able to reopen them quickly,” Pike said. “If we need to, we can wear masks, even outside, and it can help us from spreading it or from picking it up.” 

Pike added those most at risk of getting sick with COVID-19 should continue to stay at home as much as possible.

When recreating, stay six feet apart, touch the ball and other equipment as little as possible, and possibly wear masks and gloves: these are all the city’s recommendations, but city leaders added that it’s up to residents to take responsibility into their own hands. 

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