Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf has been a proactive governor during the crisis, issuing early stay-at-home orders to protect citizens and encourage, then require, them to remain home.
Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order early on, which has been extended through May 8, 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. Golf courses were considered non-essential in the initial offer, and courses throughout the state took that to mean they had to close.
However, Pennsylvania golf courses can once again open thanks to changes made by Governor Wolf.
In a new order that will start May 1, golf courses will be allowed to open again. Golf courses, marina and guided fishing trips are among the outdoor recreation services re-opening. Golf courses will have to observe and follow CDC guidelines.
From the governor's order:
“Beginning May 1, 2020, golf courses operators may permit individuals access to the property so long as there are no gatherings of any kind and appropriate social distancing of six feet between individuals is strictly abided. Golf carts may be utilized, but must be single occupant only. No employees are allowed for the purposes of facilitating play; however operations such as landscape maintenance and other 'services to building and dwellings’ may continue as necessary to prevent deterioration of property condition. Restaurant activity is limited to take-out or delivery only, and use of facilities for banquets or similar gatherings remains prohibited."
In states where golf courses remain open, courses have been required to close gathering spaces, like clubhouses, locker rooms, lounges and the like. Golfers have been required to leave quickly after their rounds. Courses have taken precautions to remove shared surfaces like bunker rakes, ball washers and water coolers. Tee times have been spaced out, and golfers are required to observe social distancing guidelines.
Several states have required golfers to walk, not allowing the use of carts. In some county-level orders, players have been required to wear masks or face coverings while they play. Pennsylvania isn't requiring these particular changes.
This is great news for golfers in Pennsylvania, as the state becomes to fourth to allow golf courses to re-open after being closed for several weeks. Wisconsin re-opened on April 24. Minnesota announced a reversal of previous closures. Illinois courses re-open, like Pennsylvania, on May 1.