Golf courses open for first time since COVID-19 pandemic began
OTTAWA -- Ottawa golfers eagerly hit the links on Saturday as the province allowed courses to open for the first time since declaring a state of emergency in March.
At Rideau View Golf Club in Manotick, all 73 tee times were booked on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“It feels wonderful,” said Barb Byrn, golfing with her regular group. “It feels good to be out here and out with our friends…and swinging the club.”
Golfers had to adjust to the a new physical distancing reality on Saturday. Tee times were booked farther apart than usual, and carts were limited to one person.
As per provincial rules, the clubhouse is only open for washroom use. The restaurant is closed as well. Hand sanitizer is everywhere, as are signs reminding people of the new rules.
“The signage is pretty good,” golfer Hillary Osbourne said. “I think we are all pretty aware of what is been going on. But I am definitely going to miss the social aspect of it, which is a big part of our game.”
Members can also only leave their cars 20 minutes before their tee times.
“There’s not a lot of wandering around,” said general manager Steve Ducat. “They can get out of their car, warm up a bit and then go to their first tee.”
The golfers didn’t mind; they were just happy to be there.
“I feel very lucky, because golf is my passion and golf is open,” Monika Bialik said. “You can’t complain about anything. You are out here and it’s fantastic.”
Marinas, private parks and campgrounds also got the green light to reopen on Saturday, ahead of the start of stage one of the province’s reopening plan, which scheduled for Tuesday.
The Manotick Marina is taking strict measures to make sure boaters stay safe.
“We have had to space out boaters, because we are taking all precautions,” marina operator Keeley Duhamel said. “We have closed public washrooms, eliminated picnic tables. If the launch ramp is occupied they need to wait in their cars.”
Boaters Scott and Kim Tennant say the rules are a small price to pay to get back out on the water.
“We’re very excited to be here, to get cleaning our boat and get ready for summer,” Scott Tennant said.