Tennis courts and batting cages will be open, but basketball courts will remain closed.

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventh-grader Savannah Cohen has been struggling to find places to practice her tennis swing during the pandemic.

Cohen, 13, found herself pounding a tennis ball against a wall of the closed L'Oreal facility in Clark recently, but it's a lousy substitute to playing her regular game at the Tamaques Park tennis courts. So it came as welcome news to her on Wednesday that the municipal tennis courts down the street would reopen starting at 8 a.m. Friday.

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“I’m going to play there all the time because I can bike there, and I can always hit with my sister,” Cohen said.

Mayor Shelley Brindle on Wednesday night announced the reopening of municipal tennis and pickleball courts and most parking lots in town parks following their extended closure due to COVID-19.

Brindle, who said she took input from the Town Council on the decision to reopen, also detailed a series of social distancing measures that will be in place when the courts and parking lots open.

While tennis courts will be open, Brindle said, play will be limited to one hour per person with “voluntary compliance.” Tennis instructors may not stay on courts or reserve courts for multiple hours, she said.

“All social distancing protocols should be followed,” Brindle said. “Those waiting for a court should stand 6 feet apart and are encouraged to wear a face covering. It is highly recommended that players partner with a family member/housemate for doubles and pickleball play.”

Brindle advised that play will be by the USTA guidelines during COVID-19, which provide extensive detail on how to play and minimize transmission of COVID-19.

“If you do play doubles, avoid all incidental contact,” the guidelines state. “NO Bryan Brothers Chest Bumps and NO whispering to each other from a close distance to strategize.”

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While most park parking lots will reopen, at Tamaques Park the only parking lot open will be the one near the tennis courts, Brindle said.

This will be to allow for more space for walking along the park’s loop, she said. Cars must enter the park on Dickson Drive and exit on Lamberts Mill Road, Brindle said.

She also outlined the following details:

  • Batting cages will be open.
  • Basketball courts, restrooms and playgrounds remain closed.
  • Organized sports are not permitted.
  • School parking lots will remain closed.
  • Mindowaskin Park remains closed due to construction.
  • Tamaques fields 1 and 2 remain closed due to maintenance.
  • A Westfield Police Officer will be assigned to Tamaques during operating hours.

The update on parks came as Westfield reported four new COVID-19 cases bringing the total number of cases in town to 257, Brindle said.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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