ClubLink plans to reopen golf courses as soon as COVID-19 emergency orders end
A man plays golf at an Ottawa golf course in 2019. (James Fish / CTV News Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- Golf courses may be among the first things to reopen once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but your foursome might not be the same as it once was.
In a statement on its website, ClubLink says it is waiting for good news from the governments of Ontario and Quebec and plans to reopen courses almost immediately after being given the all clear.
"As of today, the Provincial Government emergency orders are scheduled to be in place through May 4th in Quebec and May 12th in Ontario. We are planning to open some of our Clubs immediately thereafter, subject to any reduction or extension of the emergency orders," the statement, dated April 20, says.
Golf courses have been ordered closed under provincial orders to help curb the spread of COVID-19. ClubLink says turf maintenance can continue, but most of its employees are working remotely to prepare for the upcoming golf season.
In Monday's Angus Reid poll regarding how Canadians feel about reopening the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, golf courses ranked highly on the list of places that should reopen first, behind parks, offices, and retail stores.
ClubLink says if orders are lifted and courses can reopen the experience won't be exactly the same as it was before. The company has created new procedures to help limit the potential for additional spread of COVID-19.
Dining rooms and clubhouses will remain closed, physical distancing must still be upheld at all times, and ball washers, benches, and bunker rakes will be removed.
Members and guests will also be asked to arrive at the course no earlier than 20 minutes before a pre-booked tee time.
Some of these changes are already in effect in jurisdictions that aren't restricting golf, such as B.C. and Florida, ClubLink says.
"To date, we’ve had no issues with execution of the SOP and we are experiencing cooperation from Members as they know there is risk of being shut down if the rules are not followed."
ClubLink operates four courses in the Ottawa region: three on the Ontario side and one on the Quebec side. The company says it plans to share more information with its golfers as reopening becomes more likely.
"The fluidity of this crisis represents a great challenge for all of us," ClubLink says. "We will continue to follow the guidance of government and health officials with respect to the precautionary protocols deemed necessary."