Word out of Alberta is that golf was on the list of businesses to close under new restrictions to deal with surging COVID-19 cases, but unlike in Ontario, was spared by the provincial government.
The industry’s commitment to being responsible and ensuring protocols were in place to keep golfers and staff safe was a deciding factor in the industry being permitted to remain open.
That was part of a missive from NAGA Alberta on Thursday to industry stakeholders who had been waiting a couple of days for clarification after Premier Jason Kenney introduced the tougher new pandemic restrictions Tuesday evening.
The NAGA Alberta letter to stakeholders is here.
“With the recent announcements based on surging case numbers, we are fortunate to have been provided with an opportunity to remain open for the enjoyment by Albertans, however this needs to be done responsibly,” wrote Erica Beck, president of NAGA Alberta and a regional director for the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada.
“We strongly urge all golf courses to continue to remain vigilant as the safety of staff and guests remains our utmost priority and we ask that all facilities do their part to adhere to all AHS guidelines,” she added.
While it is good news that golf will continue, one wonders if, based on their own situations, particularly daily fee courses might just decide to shut down for the three weeks since the new restrictions affect all aspects of a golf operation, including food and beverage, any retail space and teaching.
Also, as of this Sunday at 11:59 p.m. local time, golfers will be limited to playing with people from their own household or if they live alone, they can play with two close contacts.
That may require checking identification, particularly for the daily fee courses, to check the addresses of people claiming to be from the same household, but is there any way to truly find out if somebody lives alone, or if it’s just somebody wanting to play a round with friends?
Does a golf operation really want to go by an honours system with fines increased in the latest restrictions?
Golf operations will need to figure out if the revenue exceeds the expenses of staying open during the minimum three weeks that this is in effect and base their decisions on that.
It wouldn’t be an easy call, but don’t be surprised if it happens. That’s not a prediction, just an observation that anything can happen during this pandemic.