|April 16, 2021|
A message from the PGA of Ontario
Premier Ford and the ON government announced today further restrictions to multiple industries across the province as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic effective at 12:01am on Saturday, April 17th. Included in this announcement is the unfortunate news that outdoor golf courses and driving ranges must be closed as of 12:01 am on Saturday, April 17th. This is in conjunction with the stay-at-home order that has been extended by a further 2 weeks to May 20.
Ontario’s We Are Golf partners have been actively engaged with the ON government throughout this process, right up to, and including, this morning. The key message has been that GOLF IS SAFE and that now, more than ever, safe outdoor recreational options will be critical to ensure the physical and mental well-being of Ontarians. We have reiterated our commitment as a golf industry to continue to be a LEADER in Ontario in providing one of these safe recreational activities that will be so important in the coming weeks.
We are disappointed that the ON government made the decision today to close golf courses and driving ranges as of April 17th. But it is clear that they made a broad decision with health and safety as the number 1 priority to eliminate any non-essential activities, including removing access to outdoor recreational amenities. Your We Are Golf team is committed to continue to communicate with the government in an appropriate manner to have them fully understand the benefits of having golf open as a recreational option. We believe that golf is an important outlet and will continue to make this case with the hope that we are able return to allowing courses to open as soon as possible.
We will keep you in the loop as we work through this process. If any of you have direct connections, please do not hesitate to reach out with similar messaging. In terms of key messages, we believe the focus should be on the following:
· Golf is naturally aligned to physical distancing. It takes place in vast outdoor spaces and is played with 4 people or less. Perhaps no other sport is this well positioned against this terrible virus.
· Our protocols are well established and safe. We proved in 2020 that with the right protocols golf had no COVID outbreaks. We are committed to these (and more) protocols in 2021. Here is a link to the NGCOA Canada’s Best Practices & Operational Resources that was created last season, updated for 2021.
· Clear and consistent screening procedures – golfers must book a tee-time, can pre-pay, and are screened before entering facilities.
· Golf has important health benefits – studies are clear about golf … it gets golfers outside, it is good for your heart, it relieves stress, and it can improve your mental health.
For now, and until this direction changes, all facilities must be closed to golfers according to the stay-at-home order.
Together, we will continue to push for the safe inclusion of golf courses and driving ranges as options that can be open in this stay-at-home order. We know how important this is to the well being of so many and we of course, will do so in a safe manner.