PROVINCETOWN — Many local businesses are having trouble staying open and fully staffed, but the Provincetown Tennis Club has been lucky. The club, whose season runs from mid-May through mid-October, stayed open last summer despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Massachusetts allowed public and private tennis courts and golf courses to operate under strict health and safety protocols.
The club was able to accommodate nearly 100 members last year. That’s pretty close to its average membership, according to vice president Doug Gavel.
“Last year was very unusual for everyone, but we felt fortunate that under the state guidelines we were able to open,” Gavel said.
Members and nonmembers were able to play or take lessons at the club at scheduled times, and the club even held its annual members tournament in August. But no regular social events or activities were allowed.
This year, the club will be “a little more normal,” Gavel said, especially for socializing. It will once again offer public play and lessons for members and nonmembers, and will be reviving its afternoon tennis socials every Friday from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Sunday morning drop-in doubles will be available for teams of two every Sunday from 8 to 11 a.m. for a small fee.
“We run it so that groups will play for 20 minutes and then switch up,” Gavel said.
The club is also reintroducing its Wednesday afternoon free-play time. Locals residents who show a valid I.D. can play for free between 2 and 4 p.m.
“We couldn’t do any of those events last year,” Gavel said.
The tennis club is a 501(c)(7) nonprofit social club, so it’s technically owned by its members, who pay dues.
“It’s pretty unusual,” said Gavel. “Every member has a stake in our survival, in staying financially prudent, and we’ve been able to do that over the years. Dues go a long way toward subsidizing our overhead, for staffing, having a pro here, and maintenance.”
The tennis pro is Dorothy Zerbst, who gives lessons at the club.
Some sports stores, like local surf shops, have had supply chain issues in getting enough equipment in time for the season. Again, the tennis club considers itself fortunate.
“Our staff has really been ahead of the curve and gearing up for the season for a while,” Gavel said. Supplies are in, and the clubhouse is selling merchandise again this summer.
The biggest issue businesses are facing this summer is a lack of staff — and finding housing for the staff they do have. But the tennis club is fully staffed, with staff housed for the season, said Gavel.
For more information, see provincetowntennis.org.