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Coronavirus: Riverside County Reopens Golf Courses, Tennis Courts -- With Restrictions

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Golf courses, tennis courts and other outdoor activities have reopened in Riverside County, with restrictions, after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

County public health and emergency services officials signed the order, which went into effect Monday, to reopen outdoor activities. Allowed activities include hiking, biking and equestrian activities, and non-contact outdoor sports such as tennis and golf.

"Play is being cautiously reopened for observation," Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County's public health officer, said in a statement.

On Tuesday, before the sun set in Riverside, residents rushed to local parks, bike paths and hiking trails to squeeze in some outdoor time amid the loosened restrictions.

"I got laid off from work, and I went through a small depression," said Jonathan Martin, who was out for a bike ride. He and his family have been stuck inside for close to a month now, because of the statewide stay-at-home orders.

Martin isn't the only resident who is glad that Riverside has begun re-opening public spaces.

"Back in my happy place," said golfer Phillip Avalos, "very big day."

The order emphasizes that social distancing and face coverings must be maintained at all times. The restrictions include limiting play to four people, with 6 feet of separation between players at all times; no caddies during golf play, no large gatherings like fundraisers or tournaments before June 20; and no in-person dining at golf clubhouses.

"With proper safety guidelines, our residents can benefit from healthy activities that promote physical exercise, wellness and behavioral health so long as physical distancing is practiced," county Supervisor Manuel Perez said in a statement.

COVID-19 has infected more than 2,600 and caused 75 deaths in Riverside County.

Riverside County's order follows in the footsteps of Ventura County, which ordered the easing of some restrictions last week. Orange County has also decided to keep some beaches open.

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