New York issued new guidance for golf courses Friday, allowing them to permit golf but banning most employees from reporting to work
ALBANY – New York will allow golfers to hit the course during the coronavirus pandemic after all.
Empire State Development, the state authority in charge of determining essential and nonessential businesses, updated its guidance for golf courses Friday, opening the door for them to reopen to golfers so long as direct employees are not on premises.
Golfers will have to walk the course and carry their own bags without a motorized cart, according to Dani Lever, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's communications director.
They will also be required to maintain a strict social distance of at least six feet. No gatherings of any kind will be allowed on the course, she said.
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Public and private courses will be allowed to open to golfers, according to the state.
The state issued the updated guidance Friday after a week of uncertainty.
Last week, Empire State Development classified all golf courses as "nonessential," which meant they were prohibited from having their employees report to work on site.
Melissa DeRosa, top aide to Cuomo, said April 10 that golfing was "counter to the message"the state is trying to send people, who have been encouraged to stay home.
But several prominent golf associations made the case that the nonessential designation would still allow members of private courses to play, so long as no employees were on site and the golfers maintained social distance.
And some municipal courses suggested they could remain open because local governments are exempt from the nonessential designation.
On Friday, Empire State Development made clear that golf courses are still considered nonessential, meaning their employees still can't report to work.
But the courses can employ security personnel -- an essential service -- to ensure that golfers are maintaining six feet of social distance, the state authority said. Landscapers, also an essential service, will also be allowed on the course.
The courses will not be permitted to open up their clubhouses or locker rooms.