The Champaign Health District (CHD) on Thursday issued updated guidelines for local golf courses to continue operating on a limited basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Golf courses in Champaign County include public-access courses Lakeland near St. Paris and Woodland near Cable, as well as the members-only Urbana Country Club. The health guidelines are meant to accommodate Ohio’s stay-at-home orders in effect through at least May 1, while allowing opportunities for outdoor exercise with enforced social distancing.
After review of the Ohio Department of Health Director’s orders during this COVID-19 pandemic and receiving guidance for enforcement from the Champaign County Prosecuting Attorney, golf course businesses within Champaign County shall be allowed to operate and provide an outdoor recreational activity until further notice, according to CHD guidelines. While the activity of golf will be permitted to continue under strict guidelines, the associated services like restaurants, pubs and other amenities will remain closed under state orders.
To ensure that there is compliance with the state director’s Stay at Home Order of March 22, 2020, necessary guidelines shall be adhered to by the golf course businesses, as follows:
-Tee times shall be booked and purchased remotely, via the phone or online environment.
-Tee times shall be placed at least 20 minutes apart.
-Maximum of 4 players per tee time.
-Golf course shall display tee time booking and payment procedures on their website or shall post notice of the procedures in a visible area at the golf course.
-It is encouraged, but not required, that golf courses have a daily 1-hour window of tee times for customers 65 and older.
-All practice areas shall be closed.
-Driving range shall be closed.
-Practice putting greens shall be closed.
-Practice chipping greens and practice bunkers shall be closed.
Golf carts and push carts may be rented for use if the following protocols are implemented and followed:
-When renting golf carts or push carts, there shall be a designated area where carts are to be returned after play.
-The entire golf cart shall be sanitized after each use with disinfectant wipes or a bleach/disinfectant solution.
-Extra attention should be given to the steering wheel, arm rests, seating area and interior windshield.
-Staff shall wear gloves and eye protection when applying solution.
-The rented carts shall not be stocked with pencils, cards, coolers, divot sand bottles, or towels.
-Golfers must remove any trash and take it home with them.
-Golf carts shall NOT be shared by golfers. The cart will be assigned to one golfer and only that golfer may use the cart until it is turned in and sanitized.
-Customers may not rent sets of clubs.
-Customers shall handle their own equipment at all times.
-Only one staff member may utilize a golf cart at a time for ranger, starter and security purposes.
-Bag drop stations shall be removed or closed.
-Ball and club washers shall be removed or closed.
-All communally-used benches and chairs shall be removed or posted as closed for use.
-All bunker rakes shall be removed.
Flagsticks shall be removed unless the following protocol is followed:
– Golf courses will post a “Do Not Touch and Do Not Remove the flagstick” policy.
-Hole cups shall have an object placed in hole to reduce depth of hole to less than 1 inch. (Example: 1-2 inches diameter PVC pipe cut to 2.5 inches in length Example 2 – Pool noodle cut to 2.5 inches in length.) Tee cups can also be turned upside down.
Restrictions on amenities
All buildings shall be locked and closed to customers per order of the ODH Director of March 22, 2020. Restaurants/snack bars on the premises of the golf course shall be closed.
Restroom usage will be discouraged but may be made available if sanitized by the golf course on a daily basis. The sanitation policy of the bathrooms must be posted.
Buildings and other facilities shall be limited to essential staff personnel only and have proper distancing and sanitation practices in place and posted.
Golf course shall post the “6 feet or more” social distancing policy on property.
In the event that additional orders are issued during this pandemic, these guidelines may be modified consistent with those orders. The Champaign Health District shall advise the Champaign County Prosecuting Attorney of any non-compliance with the guidelines herein and he shall consider all legal actions to cease non-compliance and protect the public health of the residents of this county.
Information for this story provided by the Champaign Health District.