(by Steve Hopkins)
The San Antonio Table Tennis Club (SATTC) opened last week in San Antonio, Texas. Beginning Monday, May 18, the State of Texas allowed gyms to reopen and SATTC followed the guidelines and opened their doors. The rules initially allowed for gyms to open at 25% occupant capacity.
As the club only has five tables, the decision was made internally to limit capacity to 10. Setting maximum occupancy to the total number of active players discourages congregating around the benches, and that, in turn, assists with social distancing. The club has also instituted Hourly Table Rentals (at $10 per hour). This has been implemented by using an online reservation app called COURTRESERVE (pricing information can be found at courtreserve.com). Basically, members create an account and then book a table through the app. The club is utilizing COURTRESERVE for reserving tables, for booking lessons, and they are utilizing payment through the app as well (providing a touchless payment option). The app is also assisting in keeping clear records of those using the facility.
The club has installed hand sanitizer dispensers. Between reservations, club staff are wiping tables and the top of the barriers. Bathrooms are being cleaned every 2 hours. Cleaning of surfaces is being done using Lysol as the disinfectant. Players are being asked not to switch sides and not to switch partners.
Some additional insights as relayed by SATTC’s Vlad Farcas: In the first 5 days (across five tables), there have been 52 hours reserved, and 33 members have participated. Many of those who participated have now played more than once – a sign that the environment has felt safe to those who have visited the club. Vlad also encouraged clubs to reach out to their local city websites noting that the City of San Antonio provided COVID-19 kids to small businesses which included important supplies like 2 gallons of hand sanitizer, masks, and an infrared thermometer.
Clubs will be reopening at their own pace across the country – as there will be great variance between regulations in different areas and each club is different. As your club opens, please reach out to us and let us know. We will provide updates so that when it is safe where you are, you will know what table tennis options are available.