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Many outdoor tennis courts on Long Island are set to reopen Friday

An outdoor court was padlocked at Bethpage State

An outdoor court was padlocked at Bethpage State Park, Friday, May 8, 2020. Credit: Danielle Silverman

It appears that many of the outdoor tennis courts across Long Island — public and private — will reopen on Friday, the day that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s COVID-19 “pause order” begins to lift. On Monday the governor said that outdoor tennis would be allowed.

But there has been minimal communication from the state on just what the guidelines are. It appears that the state park courts on Long Island will not be open this weekend. But public and private outdoor courts are opening, even if the guidelines seem minimal.

A state parks spokesman said on Thursday that guidelines are under review.

Claude Okin, CEO of Sportime, obtained some bullet-point protocols earlier this week from a government agency in Westchester that had been dealing with Empire State Development, through which guidance flows during the pandemic.

  • Courts must be restricted to singles play.
  • No means of congregation may be available.
  • All buildings (including bathrooms) must remain closed.
  • All places of congregation (chairs, benches, etc.) must be off limits

The towns of Huntington, Islip, Babylon, Oyster Bay and North Hempstead, contacted by Newsday, said they intended to open their courts and that public safety officers would be monitoring the situation.  

Sportime has 33 outdoor courts in Amagansett and 22 courts in Quogue. While there has been no public disclosure from the state on whether coaching is allowed, Okin said Sportime is going to allow one-on-one coaching.

In an email to Sportime’s members and interested parties, Okin said: “We have advocated, and continue to do so, publicly and privately, for including doubles play, family play, and other tennis and sports activities that we believe can be managed safely, in the earliest reopening plans.  We are frustrated, as many of you likely are, that the current guidelines for outdoor play were clearly designed with public recreation in mind and do not fully take advantage of the infrastructure and expertise that SPORTIME, and other experienced tennis facilitators, could bring to the solution set.”  

Meg O’Connor, general manager of the Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, said four of the club’s 11 courts will be open. She also said she has had discussions with several GMs of private country clubs that have courts and they are planning on opening under the singles-only and social distancing guidelines.

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