Does the governor’s disaster order affect golf courses?
Yes. We reported yesterday (April 7, 2020) that the governor’s state parks closure doesn’t affect municipal parks. That remains generally true. However, the governor stated yesterday on a call with county judges and mayors across the state that golf course employees don’t provide essential services under his existing order. The argument all along for golf courses staying open wasn’t that they are essential services. Rather, it was the exception for essential daily activities found in the governor’s order:
“This executive order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, visiting parks, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.”
The bottom line appears to be that golf course offices and operations should now be closed, although a city could allow people to use a course for walking or jogging. Could the city just allow golfing without employees present? That’s unclear, but probably would pose enough logistical problems to make it impractical. Certainly, a city that allows the use of a golf course for any activity should ensure the safety of patrons. Beyond golf courses, each city decides whether to close all or a portion of its parks.