Parents’ Resources

The management teams of Island Garden Basketball and Lightning Basketball have been working diligently to remain safe now that we have returned to play basketball at the Island Garden since passing our inspection as required by New York State and our local government. 

This FAQ list is hopefully a tool for our parents, players, and staff to seek answers to commonly asked questions.  If you do not find your question in this list, please email for an answer.

While we recognize that things will be constantly changing and being updated, we want you to know that we are well prepared and our plans meet, if not exceed, recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, New York State and our local government.

To read and/or download the Island Garden/Lightning basketball/JMF Sports Management UPDATED Safety Plan and Re-Opening Handbook for the 2020-2021 Season please click the link:  Safety & Reopening Plan Handbook 2 1 2021


We will  update this FAQ list below as needed.

Updated again on December 15, 2020

Q:  What Phase of opening are we in now at the Island Garden?

A:  We consider ourselves in a roll-back to  Phase I. The biggest change is we are back to NO visitors/spectators.  We find mask compliance by visitors has not been good.  After many attempts to improve, we had no choice.  We did allow 1 parent for our K-3rd graders due to their young age.  We will re-visit all of this in the new year.



PHASE 2 – Training/Clinics/Camps  – Limited People Gathering Maximum 125

  • Will begin on September 14th in accordance with the state/county guidelines.
  • Practices will be on all 3 courts. (At 50% capacity = 125 for the entire BUILDING)
  • We will allow ONE parent/guardian per player to attend. We MUST keep our per court numbers low and give people plenty of space to spread out with six feet or more space. Masks MUST BE WORN by ALL SPECTATORS.
  • Teams will not be allowed to enter until the previous session has ended, and those players and spectators have exited. We will ask for the next session’s players to wait in their cars to ensure we are under the capacity limit during this phase
  • Face-masks will be required for all spectators during this phase. Bring your own “labeled” water bottle.
  • Island Garden employees will be wearing face-masks.


Q: Is there something I can read about Island Garden/Lightning’s Safety Plan?

A: Yes.  Click this link for the booklet.


Q: Is there an At-A-Glance Basic Safety Plan?

A: Yes.  Click Here.



Q: What is the anticipated date the Island Garden will re-open?

A:  The Island Garden is considered part of NYS’s Phase 4 re-opening.  We are not permitted to re-open, unless NYS changes something until July 8th, 2020.

Q: Will Lightning Basketball start on July 8th?

A:  Lightning Basketball will begin as quickly as the Island Garden is open and ready to accommodate those teams.  We believe on or about July 13th.

Q: What will be allowed the first few weeks of the Island Garden re-opening?

A:  In the first stage of re-opening, which will be approximately 2 weeks, small groups of 1 trainer, 1 coach per 5 players will be permitted.  The following stage will allow scheduled team practices of 1 trainer, 1 coach and 10 players.  Subsequent stages and what will be permitted have yet to be determined.

Q:  Who will be required to have a COVID-19 test?

A:  All Island Garden staff will be required to have a COVID-19 test prior to being allowed to work.  We will follow all CDC and NYS requirements and protocols as they get updated. 

Q: Will players be required to be COVID-19 tested?

A:  We would suggest but not require that all players be tested before returning to play at the Island Garden or participation in any Lightning Basketball program.

Q: Will temperatures be taken on site before someone can gain entry?

A:  Yes, everyone entering the Island Garden will have their temperature taken with a Non-Contact thermometer.  Anyone with a temperature above 100.2 will be denied entry.

Q: Will players be required to bring their own basketball to the gym?

A:  At the Island Garden, basketballs will be supplied so that control of the required standard of disinfecting is all on the Island Garden.  Once Lightning moves into activities outside the Island Garden, the supply of basketballs will change.  We will communicate that change when it happens.

Q:  What facilities will Lightning be using when we return to play?

A:  Initially Lightning will use the Island Garden.  In the first two stages of our re-opening plan, we want to return to a safe environment which means one we control every aspect of. 

Q:  How will the Island Garden & Lightning staff be prepared to re-open and return to play?

A:  Staff will be trained and prepared to operate under all the new guidelines required to re-open.  In addition to being tested for COVID-19, all staff will be required to have PPE and be used.  They too will be pre-screened before entering the building.

Q:  How will the experience(s) in the gym be different for the kids?

A:   The areas in the gym will be used by less players/coaches as in pre-Covid times.  Common areas(bathrooms, seating areas etc.) will support physical social distancing as required.

Q:  What steps are being taken to be sure the Island Garden is safe to be in?

A:  The Island Garden will have an intense and constant cleaning/sanitation process.  To name a few; we have new deep cleaning equipment and have new standards for cleaning between sessions scheduled in the building as well as end of day.  12 new hand sanitation stations will be in place as well, as signage as to “Best Practices” to stay safe for everyone in the building.  All soaps, sanitizers and cleaners are EPA approved.

Q:  What will be the process if someone tests positive after we have been in the gym together?

A:  Complete rosters are required from every coach AND attendance will be taken at every session.  The staff will contact trace and notify immediately upon being notified that someone has tested positive or shows symptoms, anyone who was in the same session with that person.

Q:  Are we guaranteed that our player is safe once we return to play?

A:  We will be doing everything necessary to make the Island Garden and Lightning programs safe.  Safety for the kids is our priority.  However, nothing is risk free.  We have the safety policies and in procedures in place to minimize risk to all players and their families while at the Island Garden or at a Lightning program.

Q:  Who should seriously consider NOT returning to play or sessions?

A:   People who are personally, or living with someone effected:  Diabetes, Chronic lung disease including Asthma, severe obesity, chronic kidney disease, heart conditions, immunocompromised(e.g. transplant recipient, needing immunosuppressant medications (e.g. steroids, biologics, etc.) and age greater than 65 years.

Q:  Will the concession stand be opened at the Island Garden?

A:  No.  The concession stand is the last element of the Island Garden that will re-open.

Q:  Will masks be required?

A:  Yes.  Everyone entering the Island Garden must have a mask on.  Players and coaches/trainers may remove theirs once they are ready to take their place on the court.

Q:  What happens if someone shows symptoms after arriving at the gym?

A:  Parents will not be allowed to leave their child until the temperature is taken and is in the safe range.  If someone becomes symptomatic after the start of their session, they will be isolated in  quarantined area immediately, we will communicate to the parent immediately, and we will enforce a post-illness protocol.  The staff will contact trace.

Q:  Is capacity/attendance being limited?

A:  To uphold social distancing recommendations you will notice smaller numbers in the gym.  Sessions will be scheduled to allow smaller groups per court.  In the first stages all courts and seating may not be available at every session.  Time between session will be built in to allow exit from/entrance to each session with the least amount of contact between the sessions’ attendees and pre-screening at the entrance.

Q:  When will tournaments and leagues begin again?

A:  This return to play is a slow, watch and observe process.  Safety is the priority.  If all early stages go well and the CDC, NYS or local government add no new restrictions, we believe tournaments and leagues may see a re-start around mid-August.

Q:  Will there be water available to the players?

A:  In the early stages, NO there will not be water available via the building.  Every player/coach should bring their own water bottle, clearly/prominently labeled with their name, to their session.

Q:  Do I drop my player off outside in the parking lot?

A:  You should enter the building with your child and wait until their temperature is taken. 

Q:  Will parents be allowed to stay at their player(s)’ session?

A:  For players ages 8-14, one parent may stay in the building if they pass the prescreening, wear a mask, and maintain social distancing.  All other parents or spectators  should remain in their car.  A staff member will make an announcement in the parking lot when a session is exiting AND when the next session is permitted entry.

Q:  Can I  bring other spectators with me into the building?

A:  NO.  Parent/spectator number is greatly restricted to 1per player from ages 8-13.  No exceptions.

Q:  Can my player bring a snack in with him/her?

A:  Yes, snacks are allowed.  HOWEVER, please make sure your player knows they may NOT share their snack, staying within recommended guidelines.

Q:  Will the bathrooms be open?

A:  Yes, but access will be limited in the number of occupants at any one time and monitored throughout all sessions.

Q:  Before I come to a session at the Island Garden or a Lightning program, is there anything I should do?

A:  Yes, bring PPE with you and ask yourself the 5 simple questions below.  If you answer yes to any of them, you should consider not coming to the Island Garden or Lightning session.

  1.  Do you have a sore throat, fever, body aches, cough or difficulty breathing that is new?
  2. Have you or a person within your household travelled outside of the region or the United States within the last 30 days?
  3. Have you cared for or lived with a person who tested positive for COVID-19?
  4. Have you been tested for COVID-19 in the past 14 days and are you waiting for results or was the result positive?
  5. Do you work at a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility that has a COVID-19 concern?

Q:  Is there a plan in place to manage symptoms during a session?

A:  Yes.  We will have all that information readily available once we return to play.

Q:  Do I need to sign any waiver for my child before he/she may  return to play?

A:  Yes, you will need to sign a recently updated waiver before your child may attend a session at the Island Garden or participate in any aspect of the Lightning program.  You will receive that waiver either via email prior to a session OR on site. 

Q:  Will we be able to  watch our child play if we do not go into the Island Garden?

A:  You will be able to watch all 3 courts at the Island Garden on Playsight, our in-house live stream system, as you could prior to COVID-19.

Q:  When will the Lightning uniform/apparel I ordered, before the Stay-At-Home period started, arrive?

A:  Those orders are currently on their way to us.  We should receive them all in the upcoming week or 2.

Q:  Will the Lightning store re-open now?

A:  We are working on making that happen.  We will announce the opening as soon as it happens.

Q:  Is my child’s team allowed to travel out of state for a tournament in a state where they already returned to play?

A:  If a coach requests to travel now with their team, they must seek approval from Lightning Executive Director, Jim Fox for permission.  There are legal and insurance restraints that must be considered before permission may be granted.

Q:  Is it OK for me to bring my own chair to sessions?

A:  No, please leave personal items at home or in the car.

Q:  Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns during this return to play?

A:  As always, the Island Garden and Lightning management teams are here ready to help.  You can reach out via email to any of the following if/when you have a question: (IG COO & Lightning Administrative Director)   (IG Operations & Lightning Boys Director)     (Lightning Girls Director)    (Lightning Technical Director) (IG & Lightning Executive Director) 

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