Pickleball file photo (copy)

Pickleball courts — along with basketball and tennis courts — will be reopening in Mankato parks. Doubles play and pickup basketball, though, will be difficult for non-family players if they're looking to abide by social-distancing recommendations that will also be posted in the parks.

MANKATO — Mankato city workers are preparing to re-open basketball, tennis and pickleball courts in city parks, weeks after they were shuttered to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 epidemic. Some picnic tables will also be returned to park picnic shelters, although the announcement Tuesday night did not specifically address whether playgrounds will remain roped off.

At a City Council meeting last week, four of seven council members urged an easing of restrictions in the municipal parks, and the issue was set for more discussion on May 26.

Without listing a date, Tuesday’s announcement suggested that some sports courts will reopen as soon as resurfacing work is completed and nets can be put in place. Picnic shelters will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Along with the return of nets to the courts, park visitors will also be seeing advisory signs based on recommendations and guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Centers for Disease Control.

Those recommendations include avoiding high-touch surfaces, including playground equipment, picnic tables and benches. The guidance also appears to make pickup basketball games a challenge, advising that close contact be restricted to people within your household and that at least six-feet of distance be maintained with others.

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