Ontario golf industry lobbying to reopen

Golf wants to be at top of list of openings in Ontario when restrictions ease

ONTARIO’S GOLF INDUSTRY wants to be at the top of the list of businesses that will be among the first to open once COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

Golf courses in British Columbia any many U.S. states are open for business with COVID-19 safety guidelines in place for customers and staff, and according to Ontario industry representatives, most golf courses in the province are currently in play-ready condition and have the necessary protocols in place to allow for safe play.

According to Doug Breen, a director with the Golf Course Owners Association of Canada, he doesn’t want to debate the Ontario government’s decision to include golf as a non-essential activity. What he does want is to have his industry at or near the front of the line when Ontario begins easing restrictions.

“We want to open as soon as the government says we can and we believe we could open tomorrow and open tomorrow safely,” Breen told CTV News.

“All we’ve talked about to this point is what businesses and activities are essential and we’re not even arguing that point. We need to start looking at what’s safe and what’s not safe ? and we believe there’s no reason for golf courses not to be open.

“If there’s a safe way to get people back to work, to generate revenue for the province, federal government and [golf course] owners, then why on earth would we not do that?” said Breen, who is also regional vice-president at Conestogo-based GolfNorth Properties.

“We’re not pushing to open today and operate the same way we closed in 2019. We’re saying let us open with restrictions in place and from there, we’ll take it piece by piece by piece.”

That restriction list includes rules for making non-cash payments and reminders on how to stay safe on the course. Single-rider power carts are offered for those who don’t want to walk, there’s an increased distance between tee times to enhance physical distancing.

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