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CHAMPAIGN — No doubles matches on the tennis courts. And no petting each other’s pooches without permission at the dog park.

Like local golf courses, which reopened last week with restrictions, other forms of outdoor recreation will reopen today in Champaign — cautiously.

“We need people to make sure they follow the restrictions,” Champaign Parks Executive Director Joe DeLuce said. “They could be closed back down if they don’t abide by the rules.”

DeLuce said Monday “we got the go-ahead from Public Health,” paving the way for today’s reopening of the Champaign Dog Park and, by noon, the Hessel Park, Lindsay and Sunset Ridge outdoor tennis courts. (Clark, Eisner and Spalding will open for tennis, too — “as soon as we can get the nets up!” the park district noted in a Facebook post).

Social distancing of 6 feet or more will be required at the dog park and on the tennis and pickleball courts, as well as other more sport-specific rules. For tennis: “Players shall not touch opponent’s served balls, but return their opponent’s balls by use of racquet.”

DeLuce said more parts of the parks could be reopened in time, but that will be determined by the state and local public health districts.

“We’d be willing to open more, but need to get their permission,” DeLuce said.

At Monday’s daily COVID-19 briefing in Chicago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Illinoisans wouldn’t have to wait until May 30, when the current stay-at-青鹏棋牌 order is due to expire, for full details of plans to reopen the economy and loosen social restrictions.

But he cautioned against local municipalities defying the order, as East Peoria’s mayor has said he intends to do in his city.

“I was a businessman before I became governor and I have to tell you that I would not want to defy the executive order because I believe that I would be taking on liability if I did that,” Pritzker said Monday.

If the situation improves, Rantoul may seek permission to re-open before Pritkzer’s order expires at the end of the month, Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer said.

But it will do so only after getting clearance from state leaders, he added.

“We also understand, once those numbers begin to decrease, the governor is willing to look at allowance of current ‘non-essential’ businesses to reopen under appropriate guidelines, and we will work with our state legislators to request that from the governor when the time is right,” Eisenhauer said.

“Our hopes are we will see the numbers throughout our county decrease, and the governor will allow a phased-in reopen approach before the end of this current executive order.”

And St. Joseph Village President Tami Fruhling-Voges said her town would consider this option.

"At this point in time we will be following the guidelines set by the Governor, IDPH, and CUPHD," she said. "If regionally their is a plan presented that would set guidelines to begin opening in a safe and thoughtful way our board would give it serious consideration."

In Danville, Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said if the stay-at-青鹏棋牌 order is extended past May, the city may reconsider its compliance.

“We have no plans to reopen early at this point,” he said. “However, should the SAH Order continue beyond its current expiration date, that could change.”

Sidney Village President Jason Arrasmith and Tuscola City Administrator Drew Hoel said their towns will continue to follow the terms of the stay-at-青鹏棋牌 order, as did Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen and Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin.

“We’re making plans internally for a phased re-opening and that will begin when it’s considered safe to do so,” Marlin said. “I don’t think we’ve reached that point yet.”

“We are following the governor’s order and guidelines of IDPH and CUPHD,” Feinen said. “We are actively making plans for re-opening so we are ready when the order terminates.”

Savoy Village President Joan Dykstra said her town would also follow the order, but added: “I would encourage Gov. Pritzker to revise his one-size-fits-all policy for downstate Illinois.”


Ben Zigterman is a reporter covering business at The News-Gazette. His email is bzigterman@, and you can follow him on Twitter (@bzigterman).