Pickleball players hit the court despite safety concerns


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–The coronavirus outbreak forced New Hanover County to close pickleball courts across the Cape Fear, but as of Monday those restrictions have been lifted.

It was a move by local officials that surprised those involved with the sports.

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“It did surprise me that they opened up pickleball courts because of the six-foot distance restriction that’s still in place,” said Cape Fear Pickleball Club President Kevin Chandler. “We feel that it’s not really possible to play doubles pickleball and maintain that six foot distance.”

That didn’t stop some players from hitting the court this week as soon as the restrictions were lifted in Wilmington. They say it has provided a sense of relief.

“I’ve been missing pickleball and missing my friends,”said pickleball player Todd Lambeth. “It’s really just the camaraderie that comes with the game.

The six-foot social distancing guidelines have been a concern for pickleball players that are wanting to the return to the court. Players we spoke to say with the proper precautions it’s just like any other place in the community.

“I’ve been closer than that in Walmart and Lowes,”says Lambeth. “So, it’s really not affecting me as long as I still take care of my hygiene and wash my hands when I get home.”

The Cape Fear Pickleball Club says even though players are out and about, they will hold off on encouraging play until they feel it’s safe for the community.

“Until the six-foot restriction is lifted and the 10 member of a gathering restriction is lifted, were not going to recommend that people play pickleball,“said Chandler.