On Saturday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health reversed an earlier decision and now will allow golf courses to stay open during the COVID-19 shutdown, so long as those courses adhere to Section 15 social distancing measures.
Saturday’s ruling is a complete reversal from a ruling made Thursday by ODH lawyers in a conference call to County Health Departments, where those lawyers stated that golf courses were not exempt from Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order.
In an email sent Saturday evening to County Health Departments, the Ohio Health Department’s communications department included a golf course clarification. Quote:
We know that many of you have been receiving questions about the question of golfing and golf clubs. Below is a statement you may use when responding to golf course inquiries.
“If your golf course is operating as an outdoor recreation opportunity and abiding by all of the order’s social distancing requirements, there is likely not a health concern. However, if the golf course is operating other businesses as part of the operations (restaurants, clubhouse, spa, driving range, putting and practice greens, etc), then you should be prepared to explain why you deem those business operations essential.”
“Remember, if you are running an essential business, you have a responsibility to make sure that physical distancing and other protective measures are being adhered to.”
Many County Health Departments have been sending emails to area golf courses this morning, advising them of the change of direction and reminding them to adhere to Section 15 requirements if they choose to open their doors.