Posted: Tue 2nd Jun 2020

Opening up lots of sports would create ‘significant additional risk’ as Tennis still stopped for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jun 2nd, 2020

The First Minister has explained why tennis is still off limits during the lockdown in Wales, with the wider ability for people to see friends and family being preferred over opening up the sport.

A trimmed sweary version of the above map by Tennis Europe has gone viral on social media, with over 20,000 likes on a tweet highlighting the differing position in Wales to the sport.

Play is currently possible in 47 European nations, each with their own restrictions and safety guidelines including England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Tennis courts and facilities are closed until further notice in Wales.

The ITF has issued a set of guidelines for the sport, that includes players going around opposite sides of the net, marking different balls for each player and having water bottles.

The First Minister Mark Drakeford was asked about the tennis restriction, with it pointed out that no direct contact with another person is needed to play it.

The First Minister said, “So, over the weekend, there have been many different sports and people who play them asking why can’t we go back to gliding, why can’t we go back jet skiing? Why can’t we go back to bowling? Why can’t we go back playing tennis?

“Each one of them is able to make a case by itself. That opening up tennis, for example, would only represent a fractional additional risk of coronavirus spreading.

“But, what you have to do from a government’s point of view, is to think of all those little incremental additional risks and add them up, because by the time you’ve added them all up it isn’t just a small additional risk, you’ve got a significant additional risk.”

“So we took the decision on Friday to use the headroom we had to allow family and friends to meet in the circumstances that we’ve described. Other easements, we’ll have to wait for the next three weeks and to see what happens.

“That will include people who make a good case on their own terms for why they should be an exception. But, what I have to explain to them is their exception will be met by somebody else’s exception, by somebody else’s exception, and by the time you’ve added all these exceptions up, the risk is considerably bigger than it would be otherwise.

“We can’t afford to take that risk in Wales.”

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