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Highlands Sports Complex Staff Dodging COVID Curveballs

By CODY TOMER

Staff Writer

The Highlands Sports Complex opened in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had its benefits and downfalls.

On one hand, the staff has a full understanding of what it takes to keep people safe during activities and how to handle sanitation around the facilities. On the other hand, instructional practices were all canceled or postponed until recently, leaving the brand new complex mostly empty over the past month.

Lucy DeFruscio, marketing coordinator at The Highlands Sports Complex, provided details on what the future schedule looks like for new facilities and what those in search of exercise can do in the meantime.

“We’re still pretty much shut down from a sports perspective,” DeFruscio said. “We had to cancel all of our rentals — so no practices (were) allowed through Feb. 14. We have not been accommodating or booking any kind of rental, whether they are on the courts or the fields, no practice or instruction has gone on since the Jan. 12 executive order.

“For a $5 or $10 sports fee — depending on the sport — you can come in and play on the courts, just you and your child or if you just want to shoot around and work on your game individually, but there is nothing instructional. That way we can still keep people active and utilize the sports facility in a safe way and still follow the guidelines.”

The staff has been thrown every curveball possible during the last 10 months and has now mastered just about everything needed to keep all visitors safe during their visit to The Highlands Sports Complex.

“Opening a business during a pandemic — we’ve navigated all of our guidelines, which are in place,” DeFruscio said. “There is signage all over the building that talks about social distancing guidelines and what we expect. All bleachers are marked off so only the appropriate amount of people can sit there from a social distancing perspective. There is signage everywhere about wearing masks. We have a great group of staff to make sure everyone is following the guidelines and are taking the measures as a staff to clean the building to make sure it is a clean and safe environment for people.”

As long as there are no setbacks or further directions given from Gov. Jim Justice, the facilities will remain open to the public for instructional training and practice after Feb. 14. Calling ahead to schedule practice time would benefit everyone’s safety in terms of social distancing.

“When we navigate back to a COVID normal, all rentals have to be booked ahead of time,” DeFruscio said. “That has to be booked through our service desk or Sports Director Ricky Moore directly. The recommendation for the public is to call ahead and make reservations if you’d like to use the courts or fields. … There still won’t be competition until March 3, it will just be practice but we are really looking forward to safely accommodating everyone when the time comes. We’re just hoping the day comes soon when we can be fully operational with a lot of competition.”

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