Ohio governor DeWine clarifies if golf courses can remain open or must close
Golf Culture

Ohio governor DeWine clarifies if golf courses can remain open or must close

Ohio governor Mike DeWine has been one of the most proactive governors in the United States, aggressively acting to protect his state and its citizens from the coronavirus outbreak.

Governor DeWine issued a stay-at-home order on March 23, going into effect for the next two weeks and ending April 6. That order created confusion in the golf world, with golf course operators and golfers unclear if courses could remain open.

Initial interpretations of the order suggested courses had to close. However, the governor's office eventually clarified courses could remain open. That triggered orders from several Ohio counties that they would supercede the stay-at-home order and close their courses.

On a March 26 statewide call, state officials heading the call said they believe golf courses cannot be interpreted as an essential business, so they would have to close despite being allowed under the section of the order covering outdoor recreation. Ohio Department of Health chief of staff Lance Himes explained the decision, and counties then began issuing closure guidance to courses.

There still remains a sense of confusion over the order, and there's likely to be some pushback from operators and some golfers. However, the state's guidance is that they should follow local jurisdiction orders.

Unfortunately for golfers who wanted to play and course operators who were filling their tee sheets with golfers sick of cabin fever, they will have to keep the clubs at home for the next 10 days.

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