If I turn off the location settings on my phone, you could still find me. When I’m not in South Carolina, I’m in West Virginia. When I’m not in West Virginia, I’m in South Carolina.
Keeping track of what I can do where in the midst of states reopening after COVID-19 quarantine is a challenge. It takes strategy, mapping, and memory skills to stay on top of what’s open and closed and what’s sort of open, but not quite and what’s kind of open, but still closed.
I can get a much-needed haircut in WV, but not in SC. I can dine-in at restaurants in SC, but not in WV. I can get my nails done in WV. I can shop in boutiques in SC.
But if I want to go to a movie theatre and eat popcorn or visit a public pool on a steamy day, I have to drive all the way to Texas and Arizona. Either trip would send my car’s navigation system into a tailspin. My vehicle is so honed-in to the SC-WV, WV-SC route that it would probably blow a gasket if said, “Go west, only west.”
In WV, I can picnic at a park. Not long ago, my mother and I strolled along the water at Valley Falls State Park in Fairmont. It was crowded with people, but people weren’t crowded. In other words, families and/or friends walked, picnicked, hiked, and enjoyed the falls without any threat to the personal space of others. In truth, no one ever invaded my space at a park in my pre-COVID life.
As for parks in SC, they are a good example of how the “sort of, kind of” rule comes into play. Parks are open, but not for social gatherings. Parks in SC are exercise-only complete with “Keep Moving” signs every 40 yards or so in case visitors forget.
One such park is located beneath the 2-mile stretch of the Ravenel Bridge that links Charleston, SC to Mount Pleasant (where all of the people are pleasant). While park visitors must keep moving in the same direction, above them on the bridge’s pedestrian and bike lanes, people walk, run, and bike in whatever direction they choose.
It’s a similar story for beaches in that area. Isle of Palms is open for regular beach activities—sunning, exercising, swimming. Its next-door neighbor Sullivan’s Island is exercise-only, as in keep moving.
I can play golf in WV, SC, and throughout most of these United States. Whether walking the course or taking a cart, golf is one sport that makes a clear case for natural social distancing.
And then there is tennis. States don’t know what to do with it, which puts the sport in a “sort of, kind of” category all its own.
It’s no secret that I play a lot of tennis. Had the powers that be asked me, I could have saved them a lot of meeting time.
Some states said, “No more than three to a court.” Ridiculous. If two people can play on one side of the court, why not the other? Trust me when I say that it’s easy to maintain six feet distance when playing doubles.
Then there was the problem of sharing one fuzzy yellow ball. I’ve played many matches against coughing and sneezing opponents and have never caught one sniff.
Still, tennis players who wanted to keep playing were savvy. Everyone served using his or her own tennis balls. If the server’s ball went awry, the opposing playing picked it up with foot and racquet and hit it back to its owner. Not kidding.
Most tennis courts/clubs are open. Others are sort of, kind of open, meaning courts are available, restrooms are not. With tennis, like everything else, it’s hit or miss—pun intended.
writer, blogger, columnist