Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been one of the most proactive state executives during the coronavirus crisis, taking action early and aggressively in an effort to prevent community spread.
On March 23, Whitmer issued an executive order, Executive Order 2020-21, with shelter-in-place orders for Michigan residents. For golf courses and golfers, that order created some confusion.
While golf courses were not deemed an essential business in the order, Michiganders were able to go out for exercise. With so many golf courses operating as a respite for exercise prior to the shelter-in-place order, courses needed guidance to know if they could continue to operate in that fashion.
Golf course owners and operators, as well golfers, have waited for three days to get clarity from the governor's office -- which, admittedly, is dealing with way bigger issues right now.
According to Kurt Nagl, golf courses are not allowed to remain open to the public or their members.
— Kurt Nagl (@kurt_nagl) March 26, 2020
"Minimum basic operations do not include serving members of the public," the statement concludes.
It begins, "No, golf course employees are not considered critical infrastructure workers. As needed, however, golf courses may designate workers to leave their home for work if their in-person presence is strictly necessary to conduct the minimum basic operations listed in ... the order."
Unfortunately for golfers seeking to play at this time and golf-course operators that were bringing in significant revenue during the early weeks of this crisis, golf courses will have to remain closed for the time being.