Brian Lutz / September 20, 2020

Brian Lutz / Let’s Max Out Your Tennis Game

Is it a headline from satire publication The Plantain?

Miami tennis players react towards having to wear a mask while playing tennis.

The 30th week for Miami Dade County’s emergency order brought on by Covid-19 included an interesting amendment on Sep 16th that has befuddled local tennis players and has caused a mini uprising on social media.

Many racquet enthusiasts have been enjoying outdoor tennis since the end of April in public parks led by the county along with Miami Beach and Coral Gables.

For some reason an amendment to emergency order 29-20 now requires tennis players to wear masks on county tennis facilities.

So far it seems to be specific to county tennis parks where there are tennis courts. Although some other cities such as Pinecrest have raised alerts on social media as well.

Specifically, the $100 fines can be extended to tennis players for not wearing masks. So the same week indoor movie theaters are opening at 25% capacity outdoor tennis has the screws tightened on mask wearing?

There are some interesting developments as tennis is now permitted to have league and tournament play as long as there are no spectators and players wear masks while playing.

With tennis being one of the best outdoor socially distance activities one can play many in the tennis community are left scratching their heads.

Here are what some tennis players are saying about the rule on social media:

Walter B. Duke III “Total overreach and ridiculous”

Tina Plaza-Whoriskey “A bit much! Just label your balls (LOL) with your initials and each player picks up their own balls”

Sheena Eizmendiz “Makes no sense because there’s no contact. I’m a mask wearer too. This is ridiculous”.

Steve Delmas “It’s not a bit ridiculous it’s absurd ! Fresh air and sunshine are nature’s best antibiotics”.

Jeffery Pachowicz “Kids on the B(asket)B(all)courts no masks……RIDICULOUS”

Antonio Mora “Somebody over there is smoking something. Tennis is one of the safest activities anyone can do. This is a bureaucracy being the worst enemy of the people. Unreasonably limiting safe activities increases the likelihood of people doing unsafe ones. Idiotic”.

William Wright “Politics”.

With President Trump mostly abstaining from wearing masks and his opponent Joe Biden considering a national mask policy a lot of people have an opinion on this topic.

It’s hard to rationalize the practical nature of such a order but the silver lining in the order is that tennis is able to expand its organized services such a leagues and tournaments.

Politics does seem to be the culprit in this decision. It appears that politicians are further entrenching themselves into existing positions as the elections nears.

So does the public see through the ruling as simply “political” or will mask wearing tennis players make it seem like Halloween on the local tennis courts.

From this small sample size of tennis players it appears this rule has crossed the line of common sense.


Ever since the pandemic started to help my own coping skills I’ve done some digging around to try to help assess the magnitude of Covid-19 in our state.

Here are some of the questions and answers listed below that I got the the CDC website.

How many people die per year in Florida?

As it turns out Florida consistently has an average of about 145-150k deaths per year since 2016. The majority of the deaths come from heart disease and cancer.

How many people each year die in this way?

  1. 46,400 died from heart disease.
  2. 45,131 died from cancer.

So these two diseases accounted for approximately 61% of the death certificates issued each year.

As a reference point the number 10 cause of death in Florida during 2017 was Chronic Liver Disease at 3098 deaths.

So far Covid-19 has taken 13,286 deaths as of Sep 20th. This number is misleading since it states that Covid was found in all of these deaths but not as the main cause of death.

So if you died or heart disease and had Covid as well it wasn’t the cause of death but it gets lumped onto the total count since it was in your system.

What is the actual death count from Covid-19 as the cause of death?

That number is 6% of the total recorded. Which comes out to 797 deaths in Florida so far.If you subtract the people who died here who were from out of state you have a total of deaths in the 600 range.

A projected Covid-19 cause of death would project at around 1200-1300 victims up through March of 2021.

So what does this mean for South Florida tennis players?

It gives your some perspective on the dangers of covid and the health benefits of playing tennis outdoors socially distanced which a lot of players and non players alike already understood.

I’m not advocating not wearing a mask nor am I saying this is a conspiracy theory. I’m just analyzing raw data for my own peace of mind.

Last year in Florida over 15k people died in an accident many were on our roads. I still wear a seat belt when I drive and for the most part I try obey all the rules of the road (note to non turn signal users).

So, I will be continuing to wear a mask when the law says I should. But on a tennis court? I’m not as sure that’s so safe in the heat and humidity.

Technically this amendment applies to county operated tennis courts where they have jurisdiction. I would imagine if you belong to an HOA or live in a city like Miami Beach or Coral Gables it will be up to those local boards and police departments to decide how they want to enforce county law that so far no one really seems to agree with.

Check with your court attendant or look around and see what other players are doing. But according to my research I don’t think you will see a lot of tennis players wearing them.

Face shield for tennis players.

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