SPORTIME employees are committed to providing our members with the finest athletic and social settings, and the very best programs, instruction and amenities for tennis, sports, camps, health and fitness. We pride ourselves in our high degree of hospitality, integrity, social awareness and attention to detail. We strive to achieve operational excellence and to provide our members with intimate, welcoming and comfortable environments. We take great pride in our facilities.
As our communities react to the global health crisis caused by COVID-19, our focus remains supporting the health and wellbeing of our employees, members and customers. The following guidelines have been implemented across all SPORTIME facilities and will be updated on an ongoing basis, as we receive new information and directives from governmental and other health agencies and organizations, and based on our experience navigating this “new normal”. While some might view certain protocols as overly cautious, SPORTIME may choose to maintain them, in spite of prevailing guidance, if they make our members, customers or staff feel safer and more comfortable.
Notwithstanding all the precautions that SPORTIME will take, due to the nature of the virus, the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains, as we are all aware. Please be safe, respect others and follow all of the precautions, protections and protocols put in place during this COVID-19 epidemic.
An abundance of hand sanitizer and sanitizing supplies (spray bottles and paper towels, or wipes if available) have been stocked, and are readily available on all tennis courts and in all playing areas, and in facility lobbies, fitness areas, locker rooms, offices and common areas.
Intensified cleaning of SPORTIME facilities is taking place throughout each day, and overnight, with additional, dedicated cleaning during operating hours. Whenever possible, there is full-time cleaning staff stationed in or near high-traffic club areas, including locker rooms, during peak-use periods, and there will be staff stationed in gyms once they reopen, with the goal of disinfecting such areas, and fitness and other equipment, between users.
Water coolers or non-contact bottle fillers are provided, on-court, and hand sanitizer and disinfection supplies are located adjacent to all such devices. Water fountains have been taken out of service. Players are required to sanitize their hands before touching any water supply device. Cups have been eliminated; players are encouraged to utilize personal water bottles or cups, or to bring bottled water. Social distancing guidelines and markers have been placed at all water supply areas.
All SPORTIME facilities have protective Plexiglass barriers installed at reception desks and other customer-service counters, to create safer communication between members and staff, and to allow for transactions with reduced potential for airborne transmission.
Towels are available at some SPORTIME locations, but are not self-service, and are kept behind reception desks, having been laundered and folded following all sanitary protocols. Only hand towels are provided, as showering and changing in locker rooms are prohibited until further notice.
Members in need of demo tennis rackets may borrow them from and return them to either their site’s pro shop or reception desk (as applicable); no self-service. All demo rackets are sanitized before and after each use.
While the most recent CDC guidance appears to indicate that transmission of the virus from surfaces is unlikely, we recommend that players who are playing on open court-time, seasonal court time, walk-on time or any other court-time, league, tournament or play situation, either provide their own can(s) of tennis balls or purchase new balls at the pro shop or reception desk. SPORTIME suggests that players mark and utilize their own can(s) of balls, to avoid ball sharing among partners, in singles or doubles play. There may be no sharing or borrowing of teaching balls for recreational play, and teaching carts will be locked when not in use by coaches. When coaches finish using courts for private lessons or programs, they will ensure that no balls remain, including behind curtains, or are otherwise available to be touched by on-coming players.
Many businesses, including some of our competitors, are making false or exaggerated claims about their air-quality. However, the truth is that what matters most in the prevention of COVID-19 spread is that fewer people share larger, and more open spaces, so that the airborne virus, if present, is quickly diluted, both by the sheer volume of air and through abundant air circulation. That is why tennis and sports courts and fields are such good places to exercise safely at this time, as detailed below.
Although we believe that our modern, well-ventilated, court, rink and field enclosures are very safe playing environments, in which the spread of COVID-19 is highly unlikely, we also take the following precautions.
SPORTIME staff and members/players/students/campers are required to wear protective face “masks”, covering their mouths and noses, whenever entering or exiting SPORTIME facilities, and within our clubs at all times when adequate physical/social distancing cannot be achieved. In an abundance of caution, as of August 17th, we will be suspending the use of neck gaiters based upon recent reports that this particular style of protective face covering may not effectively prevent virus transmission. Because neck gaiters are the easiest style of face covering for our coaches, players and campers to wear and deploy comfortably and when needed, we are in the process of sourcing a neck gaiter option that provides protection equal to or better than the two-ply cotton face masks. Until we have such a gaiter available, we will be using/providing the mask style face covering. Please also note that the N-95 type masks with exhalation valves protect wearers, but do not block the release of the particles that could impact those around the wearer. Please refrain from wearing single layer gaiters, bandanas, and N-95 masks with exhalation valves on Sportime premises and, instead, wear two ply face coverings that are known to provide an effective barrier to transmission.
Staff, coaches and members/players/students/campers have easy access to ample supplies of hand sanitizer and sanitizing supplies (spray bottles and paper towels, or wipes if available), which are available on all tennis courts and in playing areas, fitness areas and facility lobbies, locker rooms, offices and common areas. Coaches will use these products to sanitize their hands and to sanitize equipment, such as ball carts, ball hoppers, rackets and benches, to ensure their safety and that of their clients.
Daily, online health screenings/questionnaires, including body temperature taken with point and shoot thermometers, are required for SPORTIME employees and summer campers/junior program participants, per NYS mandate. Protocols have been established for those screenings to be accomplished at high-traffic times, including camp and program drop-off and pick-up, to manage congestion; see the camp guidelines for your SPORTIME club for more details. An isolation and reporting protocol has been established in the event that any employee/player/camper exhibits symptoms while at SPORTIME.
All SPORTIME staff members, including all full-time and part-time employees, and all coaches and counselors, undergo a rigorous training on all Covid-19 related protocols and standard operating procedures prior to the reopening of any SPORTIME Club.
All other local, state, federal and other governmental mandates, protocols and directives will be followed to ensure the safety of all SPORTIME staff members and customers.
All on-court/field/rink activities have been adjusted to follow new curriculum/safety guidelines, designed to ensure proper physical/social distancing between players/campers and between players/campers and coaches/counselors. Procedures, along with new drills and activity suggestions, have been, and will continue to be, updated and distributed to, and discussed with, all tennis and sports Directors, and with all site Leaders, whose job it is to train staff on the protocols, to assure their proper implementation, and to communicate them to members/participants.
We have developed detailed, on-court protocols, for all group tennis and sports programming, including for our youngest participants. Drills and activities include necessary physical distancing. Coaches often utilize brightly colored, circular markers, cones, drop-down lines, and other tools to define areas and movement patterns. Markers are often placed at designated locations on each court/field/rink, prior to the start of an activity/class, so that players know where to stand at the start of a session, prior to additional instructions being shared.
Use of all gyms and fitness training areas and equipment will be adjusted to follow new safety guidelines, including spacing of equipment, reduction in class and area capacity to ensure proper physical/social distancing, routine disinfection and more.
While the most recent CDC guidance appears to indicate that transmission of the virus from surfaces is unlikely, for the time being players will only use ball hoppers/baskets to pick up tennis balls during lesson programs, and should avoid touching teaching balls with their hands, other than as set forth below. All hoppers/baskets are sanitized by coaches prior to each session, and hopper handles are sanitized after each ball pick-up. After using the basket/hopper, players then sanitize their hands, using sanitizing stations on the court, prior to returning to tennis activities. Different serving protocols have been created for group lessons and programs, and are implemented based upon the specific characteristics of each group and program. During group programs for green and yellow-ball players, and during private lessons for all players (for minors, parental permission required), players will use teaching balls for serving practice and for point play. During the former, they will be required to wear their protective face coverings when physical distancing cannot be maintained, and in both circumstances they will sanitize their hands prior to serving, and after serving, before their next activity and, in the case of serving practice requiring face coverings, prior to removing their face coverings. Players may also bring their own marked balls to use for serving and point play during group and private lessons if they prefer.
Younger players and beginners will no longer have access to communal rackets. They will be required to bring their own rackets each day or to purchase their own rackets in one of our pro shops. When loaner rackets are needed, they will be sanitized before and after use.
At certain locations, for certain programs or classes, starting and ending times may be adjusted to create a break that can be used to assure safety and distancing when players/students are entering and exiting courts/fields/rinks. With younger players, coaches will carefully guide players off the court to each club’s designated pick-up/exit areas, and will welcome the next group onto the court, all the while enforcing distancing and face covering use. Face coverings will be deployed by all at these times.
Many clubs have implemented new entrance and exit areas, and other new traffic patterns, designed to alleviate large groups of players/parents forming, congregating or passing each other as classes end and new ones begin, and to assure adequate spacing at customer service areas.
Parents are encouraged to drop-off and pick-up students, and not to remain on site, so as to avoid crowding and contact. Parents who choose to enter SPORTIME indoor spaces/buildings to spectate, when allowed, are required to wear protective face coverings at all times.