When Ontario announced its third shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic last week, there was confusion – partly due to the lack of specifics in the announcement and partly due to erroneous social media reports – about whether golf courses could open.
The good news from an industry perspective is that it’s business not quite as usual for golf courses in that province, but they will be allowed to open, prompting a warning from a medical officer of health that he will not hesitate to shut them down if there are complaints about safety protocols not being followed,
You can read more here in the North Bay Nugget.
Well, thanks for the warning, but golf operators across the country kept a close eye on members, guests and public golfers to make sure they were following safety protocols in the first year of the pandemic, so there’s no reason to believe that won’t happen again this year.
They may, however, need to step up enforcement and diligence as the 2021 season gets going as the second year of the pandemic rolls out and people experience heightened COVID fatigue, anger or frustration.
This week’s GNN Poll asks readers if they’ve ever dealt with a member or customer who went too far in protesting or resisting COVID-19 safety protocols, or even wearing mask.
It’s encouraging to see that, so far, most hadn’t, but there’s nearly as many who said that they had encountered such resistance a few times, with quite a few saying they had experienced it frequently. The percentage of respondents who had experienced it a few times or frequently outnumbered those who hadn’t encountered it.
That’s not to say that the majority of golfers are disrespecting the rules. These are isolated incidents, but they do present a potential health risk to staff and other golfers and the possibility of backlash from health officials. Certainly, staff members on the receiving end of any berating are not deserving of such treatment.
The anger and frustration over COVID restrictions is beginning to boil over in general society.
Montreal has been experiencing anti-curfew riots this week. A church near Edmonton repeatedly defied public health orders by holding services, leading to chain link fences being set up, which led to demonstrations, attended by hundreds of people.
Those are just a couple of examples of mass COVID fatigue as people lose jobs or income, get frustrated with the vaccine roll-out or can’t see family or friends the way they used to before the pandemic began. The cure for that last one, of course, is for them to head to a golf course, where people are still, for the most part, well behaved when it comes to safety protocols.
However, the operators of those golf courses would be well-advised to not dismiss the possibility of an elevation of COVID-related anger or disrespecting of rules as the pandemic wears on.