Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker has tried to be one of the more proactive governors during the crisis, issuing early orders to close bars and restaurants after partygoers were not heeding calls to avoid public mass gatherings.
Governor Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order on March 21, taking effect through April 7, requiring non-essential businesses to close and citizens to stay at home unless they had to go obtain emergency services, get food or get light exercise. However, golf courses were considered non-essential in the initial offer, and courses throughout the state took that to mean they had to close.
Then, on March 24, the Allied Golf Association in the state issued guidance through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that seemed to suggest courses could, in fact, remain open to provide exercise for residents. They would have to follow CDC and state social-distancing guidelines, and golfers would have to practice social distancing, but golf could continue.
After one day of courses remaining open, however, the state has reversed course. Illinois golf courses had to close. Now, though, golf courses are re-opening per the governor’s orders.
In a new order that will run from May 1-30, golf courses will be allowed to open again. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will set guidelines that courses, both public and private, must adhere to in order to remain open.
This is great news for golfers in Illinois, as the state becomes to third to allow golf courses to re-open after being closed for several weeks. Wisconsin, which re-opens April 24, and Minnesota have announced a reversal of previous closures.