It isn’t stretching the truth to say that golf has passed the test in living up to its reputation of being a “safe” sport, or one with a low risk of transmitting coronavirus in this year of the pandemic.
On second thought, let’s put it another way. Golf has passed its first test considering that the pandemic could last well beyond 2020. If that’s the case, there may be more tests to come.
In the first part of the CBC News interview below, Dr. Peter Lin discusses how the infamous “second wave” of coronavirus may be bigger and badder than the first that caused the lockdown of businesses earlier this year.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam backed that up in this story, also from CBC, suggesting that a fall surge in cases will coincide with cold and flu season and could put a strain on hospitals and other health facilities.
Of course, our first concern with such news is the human toll a second wave could take should it arrive and the health of friends, family, employees and the golfers who drive the industry, but it isn’t being uncaring to concern yourself with the possibility of yet another lockdown and the effect it might have on business.
A good approach to this pandemic is to employ a bit of wisdom that usually applies to when you’re playing the game. Live in the present.
Here we are moving towards the beginning of September and the industry has given political leaders every reason to think they made the right decision in allowing golf out of the gate early when they began easing lockdown restrictions in their jurisdictions earlier this year.
The current GNN Poll asks readers if the golf businesses where they’re employed has experienced any incidents of coronavirus, in which an employee or guests/members/visitors tested positive. As I wrote this, 94 per cent of respondents said no, with just six per cent voting yes.
That would certainly suggest that all of the efforts that golf operations are making to combat coronavirus are paying off, but there are exceptions. No industry is completely bullet proof when it comes to its spread, which is why vigilance remains important.
James Cronk, principal of the Cronk Group, which manages Tower Ranch Golf and Country Club in Kelowna, B.C., had a first hand experience with coronavirus when a server began experiencing symptoms. He spoke about that incident here.
In another incident, a Manitoba woman and her husband tested positive after playing in a recent golf tournament. Her main concern, to her credit, was how many others she had infected at the golf course. You can read more about that here.
The woman isn’t sure how she was infected and therein is the problem. Somebody can have it, not even know it, and bring it into your operation and infect others.
That’s what could bring on the second wave, especially now that restrictions on the size of gatherings and what businesses can open have been further eased since golf got the green light to start the season.
The pandemic isn’t over yet and there very likely are tests ahead, but the severity of the second wave is unknown at this point and, if it does strike, it may be towards the end of the golf season or even after it’s completed.
The one thing that’s for sure with coronavirus is its uncertainty.
You can live in the immediate past and fixate on how coronavirus affected your place of employment in the first lockdown or how a second wave leading to a second lockdown will just be piling on what’s already happened.
Yet, other businesses outside of golf such as restaurants and bars aren’t as conducive to social distancing didn’t get the early green light to open as golf welcomed increased rounds, many of them new players, because it was recognized as a safe environment in this pandemic.
It’s lived up to that reputation, with some exceptions, and that sets the industry up for any future test this unpredictable virus places in front of us.