Vermont governor Phil Scott has been a proactive governor during the crisis, issuing early stay-at-home orders to protect citizens and require them to remain home.
Governor Scott issued a stay-at-home order early on, requiring non-essential businesses to close and citizens to stay at home unless they had to go obtain emergency services, get food, get light exercise or work at an essential business. Golf courses were not considered essential, requiring them to close.
However, Vermont golf courses can once again open thanks to changes made by Governor Scott expected to be announced today.
In starting the first stage of the state's gradual re-opening, golf courses will be allowed to open again. Golf courses will be allowed to re-open on May 7, provided courses follow restrictions of his plan.
Courses are 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. Cups and holes will be removed from practice greens.
Golf courses will be allowed to welcome foursomes, but the players can only be Vermont residents. Out-of-state players will be turned away. Players will have to pay in advance, and payment cannot be taken on site.
Walking will be encouraged, but carts will be available for single riders. Practice areas will be open for warm-up only, and there can only be one player per 144 square feet on the driving range (basically 6 feet apart on either side). Tee times must be spaced at least 15 minutes apart.
This is great news for golfers in Vermont, as the state joins a growing group allowing golf courses to re-open after being closed for several weeks. Wisconsin re-opened on April 24. Minnesota announced a reversal of previous closures. Maine, Illinois, Nevada and Pennsylvania courses re-open on May 1. New Jersey courses re-open May 2. Washington golf courses re-open on May 5. New Hampshire courses re-open on May 11.
Only two states -- Massachusetts and Maryland -- and the District of Columbia are keeping golf courses closed.