Golf clubhouses in England will be allowed to re-open from July 4, it has been confirmed.
The news was confirmed in a joint statement issued today by the PGA, British and International Golf Greekeepers Association (BIGGA) and Golf Club Managers’ Association (GCMA), along with other organisations involved in the running of golf clubs.
The news follows an announcement of further changes to the country’s lockdown rules issued by the Prime Minister yesterday but comes with the strict caveat of clubs being able to prove that their premises are “COVID safe”.
The statement read: “In the first instance, a risk assessment should be carried out, the details of which should be shared with your workforce. For organisations of over 50 employees, this should be published on your website.
“In order to make it more viable for the hospitality industry to open, the Government has given scope to relax the current 2m social distancing rules in certain instances in favour of ‘1m Plus’, which means remaining 1m apart while taking other mitigation to reduce the risk of transmission.”
Other measures are to include keeping a temporary record of customers for 21 days to assist with NHS Track and Trace Requests; providing clear guidance on arrival of social distancing and hygiene measures in place at the venue; and utilising contactless payment wherever possible
Clubs will also be required to calculate the maximum number of customers it can safely accommodate, taking into account either the 2m social distancing rule or new “1m plus” rule.
Where PPE is already being used, it should continue to be. However, workplaces “should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE” and risk assessments “should reflect the limited role such equipment will play”.
Table service should be offered with a designated server wherever possible. In instances where bar or counter service is unavoidable, provisions have to be made to prevent customers from remaining at the bar after ordering.
The statement added: “All involved in golf in England should review the full guidance as soon as possible so they can begin putting in place the necessary steps to ensure your business can continue to open-up safely.”
There is still no confirmed date for the re-opening of clubhouses in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
However, Scottish Golf has confirmed that it is considering its options following confirmation today from the country's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, that the country's pubs and restaurants will be allowed to re-open from July 10, with the five-mile travel restriction to be lifted from July 3.
A further update on what that means for Scottish golf clubs and golfers is expected in due course.