January 30, 2021

           2020 is in the books, finally! Though we’re not out of the woods yet, there are some positive signs up ahead: the vaccine distribution is back on track and looking like there’s finally a plan in place. Governor Cuomo is slowly easing up some of the restrictions due to the holiday surges calming down and YTC is still plucking away, thanks to you. With 3+ months left to go in the 2020-21 season, I wanted to share a few dates and updates.

           On Feb. 15th we’re going to release our 2021-22 Pre-Season Renewal process materials. KJ and Mary Lou will walk you through all the details, dates and deadlines. Our intent and hope are that by late September the return to normalcy (whatever that may be) arrives and the club can get back to where we left off last February before COVID took over the world. We will have a few dates built into the process allowing groups to opt-out of their obligations in the event things don’t progress as planned. We are also planning to start two weeks later in September thus buying more time outdoors for those desiring that. More to come on this in the next few weeks.

           With regards to Summer’21, YTC will be officially closed for play from Memorial Day-Labor Day. This was the norm years ago and we’ve been contemplating it for a while now. Summer indoor tennis isn’t a money-maker for us and compounding everyone coming off a very long winter due to COVID, I can’t imagine people are going to be clamoring to stay inside this summer or stay in town for that matter. In early spring, we will be publishing a complete outdoor tennis directory of parks, school courts and outdoor club locations with contact information to help people along.  Included in that will be a listing of where our tennis coaches will be and how to reach them for those who want to take lessons outside. The office will still function if you need to reach us, as well. We’ll monitor how this plays out and reassess for future summers when the time comes. Sunshine, red clay, cool breezes, post-COVID: get out and enjoy.  You earned it!

           Everyone wants to talk about ventilation lately and when Tendai starts lecturing on MERV-13 filters in a staff meeting I figure it’s time to help him out a bit. One the positives we feel we’ve been able to implement this winter in making YTC safe is our comprehensive approach to “air.”  We have a full HVAC system which has been reprogrammed to introduce 30% fresh air (normal setting is 10%) through the economizer. We installed and replace monthly MERV-13 hospital grade filters and installed a photoionization UV light system which treats the air before releasing it through the duct work (long white tubes along entire back wall of courts.) We supplement this with our two exhaust fans, retrofitted during holiday break, and opening the Ct. 1 garage door when temperatures allow. Rule of thumb regarding these strategies: exterior temps must be 45 degrees and higher. This exceeds every guideline we’ve been able to find for our industry and Governor Cuomo. Combine this with our regular rigid protocols and a NIGHTLY cleaning, sanitization and “fogging” routine performed by a full-time staff member, not an outside contractor.  Two days ago I got blasted by him for not buying the proper floor wax as the “shine” wasn’t up to his standards. That gives you an indication of the type of people working behind the scenes on your behalf. They care! We’re not perfect, but it seems to work.

           Since our reopening on July 7th and thru January 23rd we’ve had 22,022 visits to the club (contact tracing system) and 8 reported cases of positive COVID individuals. That’s a 0.000363% positivity rate for the data types. Zero is our target but we’re also realistic in our approach. When we do receive a positive notification, our protocol is to send a letter to everyone who was in the building that day from the time the individual played specifying time and court number (no names specified). Since we sanitize and “fog” nightly be rest assured the club is ready to go the following morning, every morning.

           We monitor daily what’s going on around us and within the club. I don’t foresee loosening too many things that are currently working and if the need arises where we must tighten the strings again, we will. As things change, we will notify everyone as we’ve done since this all started.

           Lastly, I want to send out a simple shout out to my staff who have been amazing throughout this past year. They pivot when need be, support each other on and off the court and have helped make it possible for the club to function in this crazy world. They feed off of people like you who have been great and supportive when it hasn’t always been easy. This season was supposed to be YTC’s 50th Anniversary.  Like an elevator that typically doesn’t have a 13th floor, we may just put this one in the trunk and come September celebrate our 51st.  50th has been done but how many 51st Anniversary parties have you been to? Something positive to look forward to and we can all use more of that!

Stay safe, healthy and be hopeful,

Joe Curto

Yonkers Tennis Center | 493 Sprain Road, Yonkers, NY 10710 | (914) 968-6918x0