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On Thursday, "The Bay State" joined Vermont and Maryland in allowing golfers to play the beloved game after courses were closed to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19. They are some of the last states to do so.
During the worldwide shutdowns, a number of other states that managed to keep courses open all along, with precautions in place to promote social distancing, from sanitizing carts to removing rakes from bunkers, others have kept them under lockdown.
It's not quite golf as you knew it but as restrictions across the country begin to loosen, players are once again getting a chance to get some fresh air, exercise and an escape from the four walls of their homes.
Gov. Charlie Baker said private owners of golf courses can now permit individuals access to the property as long as there are no gatherings of any kind and appropriate social distancing of six feet between individuals is strictly followed. The decision also allows cities and towns to open municipal courses under the same guidelines if they choose.
Despite the limited opening, golf courses are still not considered essential businesses and can’t have employees working at the courses.
Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan comprised a list of safety protocols with an emphasis on social distancing and extra sanitation. There will also be a limited number of staff members allowed on the grounds and players are asked to wear face masks.
In Vermont, golfers are free to hit the course if they abide by strict health and safety precautions.
“These small gatherings will give Vermonters a chance to reunite and enjoy each other’s company. But we must do so carefully,” Gov. Scott announced.
Recreational gatherings are still limited to gatherings of 10 or fewer, "preferably in outdoor settings that allow for greater physical distancing protocols," according to Scott.
To date, New Hampshire is the only state that has not reopened idled courses, according to Golf Advisor, which is tracking state by state restrictions on the game, However, the states announced courses will be allowed to reopen as soon as May 11.
Out west, courses across are also slowly reopening with Los Angeles County easing restrictions on May 9.