With Citrus County’s COVID-19 reopening in full swing, officials now turn their attention to the ballfields.
During their Tuesday meeting, county commissioners will discuss recommendations for reopening ballfields and tennis courts to ensure safety.
“We have had a number of calls regarding use of the baseball fields primarily from travel ball teams and Little League teams,” County Administrator Randy Oliver wrote in an agenda memo. “We understand that Little League has canceled their season.”
Oliver said that Frederick Lorentson, Florida Little League District 15 administrator, provided a list of safeguards to reopening ballfields. The county used that information to offer a proposed set of rules for ballfield use, including:
• Take temperatures of all players, managers, coaches and umpires. Those with temperatures over 100.4 degrees are not allowed to participate.
• Remind players to refrain/minimize contact with others (no handshakes, high fives etc.).
• The only people allowed in the dugout are the coach, the on-deck batter and the batter in the hole.
• Provide hand sanitizer/wipes to each team and encourage everyone to use it periodically during play.
• Require all shared team equipment, such as bats, helmets and catcher's equipment, to be wiped down prior to each use.
• Require balls to be wiped down when put in play and at the end of each half inning with a coach be responsible for wiping down the bats after each at bat.
• No more than two games per complex where games are played on adjacent fields and social distancing cannot be observed.
• Social distancing for spectators; no groups exceeding 50 people.
• No seeds or gum permitted.
Also, Oliver recommends the county keep concessions stands closed for now.
“We recognize that concessions are an important part of funding these teams, however, one area of concern is the concession stands where space is limited,” he wrote.
For tennis courts, Oliver recommends players take their temperature prior to playing and maintain social distancing.
He has a similar recommendation for hockey and basketball, saying players should have temperatures taken beforehand and maintain social distancing when not actively participating.
“Basketball and hockey are more problematic because of the physical contact,” Oliver said.
Tuesday’s county commission meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the courthouse in Inverness. The county is practicing social distancing in the commission chambers, with every other row blocked off. Anyone wanting to participate but not in person can watch the meeting on Spectrum Channel 643, or online at citrusclerk.org, and call in during public comment at 352-341-8795.