Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). First identified in Wuhan, China in 2019, it led to a serious global health crisis that ramped up in the United States beginning in March 2020. COVID-19 quickly spread throughout the United States between March-May 2020, resulting in local and state governments issuing severe business restrictions and stay-at-home orders. Consequently, all factions of the golf industry quickly assembled to: 1) ensure golf was included as an acceptable form of outdoor recreation; and 2) ensure minimal maintenance at golf properties could continue. Proactive advocacy efforts included outreach to governor’s offices in all 50 states by golf industry leaders and state-based golf coalitions.
GCSAA has been a strong advocate since March 2020 focused on responding to COVID-19. We are seeing now states, cities and counties across the country reporting an uptick in coronavirus cases as we enter the winter months and many governors, mayors and county officials are taking new steps to reinstate stricter policies including updating Executive Orders.
The golf industry, working in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control, developed Back2Golf guidelines which were modeled after President Trump’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. These guidelines demonstrate that golf can offer an outdoor recreational experience that provides many health and wellness benefits. This comprehensive plan allows golf to be played responsibly while observing recommended social distancing guidelines.
As elected officials update their restrictions and Executive Orders targeted at mitigating the resurgence of cases by limiting group sizes, requiring facemasks indoors and outdoors, and closing down activities, rest assured GCSAA’s Government Affairs and Field Staff departments will continue to closely monitor these actions and will continue to protect and defend the golf industry. Most important, where allowed, golf has proven to be a reliable refuge for those seeking fresh air and recreation in a socially distant manner. As government bodies carefully consider the steps needed to maintain state economies, GCSAA urges government bodies to remember the many community benefits offered by golf courses, the opportunity golf facilities provide to the millions who enjoy the game, and the many new social distancing protocols put in place. GCSAA and the golf industry wants to serve as a reliable partner at all levels of government to respond to COVID-19 and any future pandemics.
Advocacy specific COVD-19 resources can be found here.