If you’ve been dying to hit the links of late, you’ll soon have a chance to do that.
Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf said Monday that golf courses may reopen this Friday, May 1, with social distancing and other requirements in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All courses were closed as non-essential businesses in late March, and the closures have had a significant impact on local golf facilities such as those at Steel Club in Hellertown, which recently encouraged its members to sign a petition requesting that golf be reopened in Pennsylvania.
Wolf said in a news release that his decision to allow golf courses and marinas to reopen was partly motivated by the fact that some Pennsylvanians’ mental health has suffered as a result of the stay-at-home order that went into effect statewide April 1.
“Pennsylvanians have remained resilient throughout this COVID-19 crisis, and as we successfully continue to flatten the curve to protect our physical health, it is critical that we also focus on our physical and mental health during these extraordinary times,” he said. “As the weather warms and daylight lengthens, enjoying time outdoors is an important way to manage stress.”
“Reopening these industries will help to rebuild our economy and strengthen our mental health,” Wolf added.
His news release cited a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation which found that nearly half (approximately 45 percent) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over COVID-19.
Under revised operating guidance for life-sustaining businesses, the state said golfers must maintain a distance of at least six feet from each other in order to play safely.
Other requirements for golfers include the following:
- Golf carts must be single occupancy only.
- Use of golf club facilities for banquets or other types of group gatherings is prohibited.
- Food may only be sold for takeout or delivery.
Steel Club has remained open and actually expanded the availability of curbside takeout from its restaurant, The Beam Yard, which is open to members. No-fee dining memberships are available in order to access the restaurant’s current menu.
Even with social distancing in place, the governor’s office recommended that other precautions be taken when recreating outside, in order to continue to slow the disease’s spread.
Although not required to be worn outside, golfers and others are being encouraged to wear a face mask or protective garment that covers the nose and mouth any time they go outside, Wolf’s news release indicated.
“Cross the street to avoid running directly past another runner or wait longer at a golf hole for a fellow golfer to move forward,” it recommended.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, another 885 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed statewide on Sunday, which brought the total number of confirmed cases to date to 42,050. The total number of residents who have died from COVID-19 to date stands at 1,597, according to the department.
Wolf recently announced that some rural parts of the state may begin to reopen May 8, based on criteria that define when stay-at-home restrictions can be eased according to their caseloads during a 14-day period.