Golf courses will be among the first areas to open as Alberta revives its economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Jason Kenney on Thursday outlined three steps Alberta will take to get the economy back on track after weeks of little or no activity due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
A day later, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, signed an order authorizing the reopening of the golf courses on Saturday.
Ranch Golf and Country Club is one of Edmonton’s golf courses ready to welcome customers for the 2020 season.
“It was a bit of a whirlwind, but it is official,” said Murray McCourt, golf manager, executive golf professional and game owner. “It was fast, but 100% we have been preparing for this day for some time. “
In his order, Hinshaw says that golf courses must follow the following guidelines:
Implement practices to minimize the risk of infection
Have procedures for rapid response if a worker or client develops symptoms
Provide sanitation and personal hygiene
Make reservations and online retail sales
Clean and disinfect items rented to golfers
Professional stores and restaurants will be closed for the time being, but food and beverages will be available.
“We work with this park-and-play model where you phone or connect your tee time online and pay for it,” said Kevin Smith with Alberta Golf. “You show up for the course no more than 15 minutes before you leave, you get out of the car, you go in a sanitized cart, you get out of the lesson, you drive alone or if you came with someone you can be with them in the basket, you social distance, you never touch the pin or the flag. “
McCourt added that only one person will be allowed per cart, unless the two live together.
Despite all restrictions, McCourt expects his golf course to be occupied immediately.
“These phones ring non-stop,” he said.
“I think that is part of the solution to come in this province in terms of physical health, mental health and the economy, because golf is a 2.5 billion dollar industry that employs over 40,000 people in the province, “said Smith.
The city-owned golf courses will not open on Saturday, but council is expected to discuss their opening date next week.
With files from Nicole Weisberg of CTV News Edmonton