As we approach a full seven months of dealing with COVID-19, we continue to struggle and worry about the health and welfare of everyone in our community. Sometimes it is amazing to me that we are even able to continue to exist with our businesses after taking in no money from March until the last week in August. Even now, we are limited to hosting practices and clinics and cannot organize leagues and tournaments.

The most important issue continues to be safety. We have done and continue to do everything possible to keep Island Garden safe and clean. We have been complimented by the Department of Health for our outstanding protocols and execution of those standards. For that I deeply thank my great staff who have worked tirelessly, without collecting a salary from Island Garden, to make sure our facility is not only open but it is as safe and clean as it possibly could be during these difficult times. THANK YOU, THANK YOU AND THANK YOU TO MY INCREDIBLY DEDICATED STAFF.

We have opened to host practices and clinics. We continue to not to be allowed to play games. This hurts especially when we hear that other venues throughout the New York Metropolitan area are hosting leagues and tournaments. That may be dangerous, and it is certainly wrong! What example do we put forth to our players and parents if we do not abide by the regulations mandated by the Governor of New York?

We are trying to generate some income by offering rentals and clinics. The responses to clinics have been tremendous. All have been filled and we have had to turn away players in order to remain compliant with occupancy and spacing regulations. We will continue to offer additional clinics conducted by only the very best coaches and trainers. Our quality will never be compromised even during times of extraordinary demand. I urge everyone to watch for our eblasts for almost daily announcements. We also have courts for rental for both basketball and volleyball practices.

There is no sense in standing still during these difficult times. My team and I have been working every day and I now want to share some important developments:
– We have moved out of the JMF Facility on Merrick Avenue. We were there for almost two years prior to the pandemic. We made significant strides forward, but it did not make business sense to try to salvage that operation. We made the decision to downsize and become leaner and more financially stable especially during the upcoming recovery phase (which we hope and pray will commence very soon).
– We also continue to work with LIU Post. We have space available in the Pratt Gymnasium to host both basketball and volleyball practices. LIU has done an admirable job in providing a safe environment for every person who enters the campus. We greatly value our relationship with this university whose leaders continue to exhibit extraordinary vision for the future.
– We are also working on another important project that cannot be announced until final approval is secured. When it comes about, it will be tremendous!!!!
– At this point in time, we are still waiting on the Governor to allow our Lightning teams to play games in New York. It is frustrating to see so many New York teams travel to other states to play in tournaments. This is aggravated by the fact that there have been no outbreaks resulting from those tournaments based on all reports we have received. New York currently has one of the lowest statistics regarding positive tests, illnesses, and hospitalizations and yet we cannot fully return to playing games. This is very frustrating to put it mildly. We take great care in abiding by all guidelines and are confident that we can provide a safe setting for games in the same way we do for practices and clinics.

That is enough for now. I will continue to keep you updated.

Jim Fox

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