On May 18, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 147, “allowing certain outdoor activities at recreational businesses, including archery ranges, batting cages, golf driving ranges, horseback riding, shooting ranges, and tennis clubs as well as community gardens to open with required social distancing measures in place.”
That evening, the Maplewood Township Committee took up the matter of tennis courts re-opening.
“The order takes effect on Friday, May 22 at 6:00 a.m.,” said Mayor Frank McGehee, who noted that although the order mentioned “tennis clubs,” township officials felt that it also extended to municipal courts. “So we are moving forward to open up our municipal tennis courts on Friday … and South Orange will be doing the same.”
McGehee noted that the reopening will come with a “handful of rules” as the townships’ “number one priority again is safety.”
Tennis players will need to maintain social distancing. Only singles tennis will be allowed; no doubles. Courts will open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., with a one-hour match time limit. Players will “stay on your same side and don’t switch ends as in pro matches,” said McGehee. They will also use their own equipment and not congregate on or near the courts. Face coverings are recommended prior to and after play (but not during). McGehee said that players will be asked to avoid the net game to remain as socially distant as possible while playing.
“We felt that if the governor has opened up clubs, we want to make sure we have equality across our towns,” said McGehee.
Deputy Mayor Dean Dafis noted that the governor’s order came with a “whole bunch of necessary guidelines including necessary sanitary guidelines in terms of providing a Purell station … so we want to coordinate this with our administration and engineering and public works to safeguard the public.”
McGehee said that the township would be “asking residents to bring their own sanitary and disinfectant products.”
Meanwhile, South Orange Tennis Club sent out an excited message to members titled “OLTC Tennis Reopening Friday, May 22!!!”
The message read:
This time it is official! NJ restrictions have been lifted allowing private tennis clubs to reopen. We are both pleased and excited to announce that effective Friday, May 22nd, the Orange Lawn tennis facilities will re-open and are available to all OLTC members.”
We want you to know your health and well-being remain our number one priority. Below please find our new safety protocols, tennis rules and club reopening procedures.
On behalf of our entire staff, we appreciate your patience and thank you for your continued commitment to Orange Lawn as we worked through this crisis together. I know you are all looking forward to hitting the tennis courts and we certainly look forward to seeing you!
We have a great season of fun planned for you and your families.
Orange Lawn Tennis Club
General Manager & Director of Racquets