So crazy and true, it bears repeating: we are open (as of noon, Monday, July 13th).
Although we are open, we are going to start slowly with many new social distancing rules and a limited schedule. For the first two weeks we are going to offer:
- Limited Hours: noon -9pm weekdays and 9am-5pm weekends
- Solo drilling only – unless you are in quarantine (ie live with) your squash partner
- No access to showers or changing rooms
- Social distancing rules in effect including masks at all times when not on court
- Special programming to help with the special circumstances
- We will have other guidelines that we will explain under separate cover and/or when you visit.
Here’s the story of how it happened. This is a story about focus and dedication and the rewards that come when you are single-minded in your pursuits: the reason we are able to open is because we are a dedicated squash center and not a gym or fitness center.
A couple of weeks ago, we were excited that we would be able to open in Phase 4 (end of July). We wrote a blog about it here. But almost as soon as we wrote the blog, there was an announcement by the city and state that gyms and fitness centers would not be allowed to open in Phase 4. But the wording of the announcement was unclear. On the one hand it said: “Such facilities are prohibited from conducting indoor activities at this time” and on the other hand it also said that racket games were allowed if social distancing rules were put in place. And it really wasn’t clear what “such facilities referred to”. So in an abundance of caution, we didn’t open, but we started calling everyone everywhere to get a clarification. And on Friday we got our a response from the EDC (Empire Development Corp – the body that decides who can open when and which organizations are in which phases). Specifically we have been informed that:
Your squash center can reopen provided that:
1) your center is neither a gym nor fitness center;
2) it is not located within a gym or fitness center; and
3) you comply with the appropriate heath guidelines that have been published on the New York Forward site at forward.ny.gov.
To say we are happy is beyond an understatement. We are ecstatic, delighted and thrilled (I could go on) to see you all back in your humble non-profit squash center. And I think that this sort of focus – stripping away everything but the essentials and just doing one thing – can help everyone all in all aspects of our lives. At the Manhattan Community Squash Center we have one goal in mind: to make sure that squash is accessible to everyone. It’s an awesome sport, it keeps you crazy fit, it’s fun, it’s social and best of all it’s accessible again. And all boasting aside, if that’s not tight and deep I don’t know what is.
We can’t wait to see you on court.