BRUNSWICK — Barbara Fraumeni acknowledged it took a little time to get used to playing tennis while masked up, as is the requirement at Maine Pines Racquet & Fitness these days.
Slowly, however, wearing a mask felt more natural than uncomfortable.
“It was a little tough in the beginning, but now I’m used to it and sometimes even forget it’s on,” said Fraumeni, of Brunswick. “I’ve noticed that the paper masks suit me better than the cloth masks while I’m exercising.”
Fellow tennis player and Brunswick native Bill Elmore said he, too, needed time to adjust.
“I guess my biggest issue is that my glasses tend to fog up, but I would rather be safe than sorry,” Elmore said.
Like many businesses in the state, Maine Pines Racquet & Fitness felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Maine Pines closed for three months, from mid-March to June, which prompted owner Rob Manter to brainstorm creative ways he could safely re-open his business.
“We spent that time deep cleaning our facility, and designing our safety protocol plans to make upgrades to follow the protocols that were established,” he said.
The facility opened in the summer and hopes to keep its doors open even as the pandemic shows no signs of easing. Manter said Maine Pines has made some changes to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Maine Pines has five tennis courts open, down one from its usual operations.
The sixth court was transformed into a new fitness center, complete with weights, ladders and ropes. People can also play pickleball, with two courts set aside for use.
“The biggest challenge with adding the fitness center to the courts was finding the proper noise level to accommodate everyone,” Manter said. “When you have tennis players wanting it to be quiet to focus, and members in the fitness center playing loud music while working out, we had to find a happy medium between each party.”
Manter added several new fans and air purifiers throughout the facility, plexiglass at the desk in the lobby, and hand sanitizing stations in the lobby and at the net on each tennis court. There is also a self temperature check as you walk in the door.
Manter says he’s pleased with the number of people who are showing up to play tennis.
“We’re hoping more people will come out and see that they can play tennis or work out safely and comfortably,” Manter said.
Masks must be worn at all times while in a public setting, including while exercising.
Jason Terry, the club’s tennis pro, has had to adjust how he approaches his lessons and clinics during the pandemic.
“For the most