Coronavirus (CoVid-19) - Update 31 May 2020

I hope you are all staying safe and keeping fit and well in these difficult times. As you will be aware government guidelines were updated on Thursday 28 May 2020, which will become effective on Monday 1 June 2020. One of these updates is the guidance that

Both singles play and doubles play is now permitted with people from outside of your household, as long as you remain 2 metres apart as far as possible – meaning that four people from different households can now play doubles.

The LTA has published updated guidelines available on the links below. These measures and procedures are under constant review and will be updated as advice from government, health authorities and governing bodies evolves in line with the gradual lifting of social restrictions.
LTA Guidelines for Tennis Players
LTA Guidelines for Tennis Venues

The key new and updated guidelines, in addition to the existing ones, are:

  • [NEW] Both singles play and doubles play is now permitted with people from outside of your household, as long as you remain 2 metres apart as far as possible – meaning that four people from different households can now play doubles.
  • [NEW] For doubles, consider agreeing in advance which player will take the shot if a ball travels to the centre of the court.
  • [NEW] Hand hygiene is imperative - use alcohol gel to clean your hands after touching a shared surface. 
  • [NEW] Limit activities to court rental and coaching activity for groups of no more than six people.
  • [NEW] Players do not now need to use their own clearly marked tennis balls – however, if you choose to use shared balls then extra care must be taken to ensure you do not touch your face during play, and you should clean your hands before play and immediately after finishing (use alcohol gel if required).
  • [NEW] If someone who has played at ARTC develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should follow the Government’s ‘test and trace’ guidelines, which can be read on the Gov.uk website.
  • [UPDATED] Court users should be advised to clean their hands with alcohol gel after touching shared surfaces such as gates. Where safe and appropriate, doors and court gates could be left open during playing hours. 
  • [UPDATED] Where attendance of a parent/guardian (non-participant) is required, or a carer for a disabled player, it is permitted and is not counted as part of the maximum group size of six, but should be off court and limited to one per player where possible, with social distancing strictly observed while watching the sessions.
  • [UPDATED] Some formats of competition will be able to resume before others, and Local Tennis Leagues, LTA Youth Box Leagues and internal singles and doubles box leagues/ladders can be played as long as they adhere to the guidelines in place.

Whilst this is a welcome relaxing of the previous guidance, the LTA are keen to communicate that:

Any measures venues put in place to enable tennis activity to resume need to be capable of being flexed or changed quickly if tighter movement/social distancing is reintroduced in the future or when the restrictions are further relaxed.

Hopefully, if  we continue to Stay Alert throughout this transition period we can play our part in reducing the risk of a second spike. With that in mind, we have decided to keep the clubhouse closed until further notice to minimise contact and transmission. 

Here are the existing proposals and procedures for getting tennis up and running at ARTC: [13 May 2020]

Membership
We have decided to extend the membership of anyone who was a registered member of ARTC on 31.3.20, until 30.9.20 free of charge.
From 1.10.20 membership will need to be renewed for 6 months until 31.3.21 at a pro rata rate of 6/12 for the year. The annual yearly payment will then be resume from 1.4.21. This is to recognise that members will have no access to league tennis this season and a gesture of goodwill to our tennis community.
Anyone wishing to join the tennis club as a new member from the now until 30.9.20 will be charged a flat rate of adults £20, juniors £5 and families £50. Membership will then need to be renewed on 1.10.20 as above.

Booking Courts
We are introducing a compulsory on-line booking system as recommended by the LTA. This is to ensure that the club maintains accurate records of who is playing and when. This will help with contact tracing, if required. It will be necessary for any member booking a court and finding they cannot use it to ensure they cancel the booking as a courtesy to other members. Anyone repeatedly failing to do this may be subject to a penalty.
We will be using the LTA ClubSpark platform. This will allow you to book a court via our website, or using the ClubSpark Booker App on your mobile phone. To use ClubSpark you will have to register here and follow the instructions in How to register for ClubSpark.
Booking courts is a simple procedure described in these guides:
How to Book a Court using ClubSpark
How to Use the ClubSpark Booker App
If you have any problems or questions do not hesitate to get in touch.

Access to Clubhouse and Courts
The Clubhouse will remain out of bounds for the foreseeable future and members will need to plan their usage with that in mind. Net winders have been removed to minimise unnecessary contact as have seats, drag mats and brushes. Please make sure anything you bring, you take home.
Locking and unlocking the gates will require members to take responsibility for reducing transmission by using gloves and hand sanitisers on arrival and departure. You must appreciate the need for social distancing while entering and exiting the courts and wait in a socially respectful way.

  • On Court - Arriving
  • - Courts that are side by side can be used.
  • - You should enter the court one at a time.
  • - Nobody, except the players should be allowed on the court. There should be no spectators present during this phase of reopening.
  • - Parents supervising children should be limited to one.

  • On Court - Playing
  • - Physical distancing should be observed throughout the period of play, particularly on change of ends and entering and exiting the court.
  • - You should change ends at opposite sides of the net. Players must refrain from handshakes and high fives.
  • - Equipment such as towels, food, and drink must not be exchanged between players.
  • - Please bring their own hand sanitiser, drinks and towels.
  • - You should avoid touching your face after handling a ball, racquet, or other equipment.
  • - You should ideally bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you.
  • - You should use two sets of clearly marked tennis balls. These should be alternated for serving with each player only touching their individual tennis balls.
  • - You should use your racquet/foot to pick up balls and pass them to their opponent and should avoid using your hands to pick up the balls.
  • - You should remain apart from the other player when taking a break.
  • - If a ball from another court comes across, players should send it back with a kick or with a racquet.
  • - If a player becomes unwell after playing, they should first contact their GP/HSE and then inform the club. The club should contact the HSE and follow the advice provided to them on the next steps.

Finally…
There is a lot to take in here and you may still have queries and questions. If you do direct your enquiries to info@artc.org.uk, where we will do our best to answer them. We will also place reminders on the courts to prompt people to respect these directives.
We all know tennis is a sport for life and that playing tennis provides great mental and physical health benefits for us all. Therefore, as a club, we must ensure that tennis is only played within a safe environment – you can see the current risk assessment displayed in the clubhouse window.
Thank you for your co-operation and support in these difficult times and enjoy the chance of hitting a ball again.