Dan Tierney, Press Secretary for the Office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, confirmed by email that golf courses may remain open during the COVID-19 shutdown — albeit in slightly couched terms.
Tierney responded by email to a question posed by Northeast Ohio Golf last night then again this morning:
Q: The COVID-19 order permits “outdoor activity” at “open outdoor recreation areas” with social distancing. Golf fits that description 100%. Please confirm that golf courses may remain open.
A: There is an exception in the order for “Outdoor Recreation Areas.” All businesses that remain operating are subject to the orders requirements in Section 15 related to social distancing, hygiene, and sanitation.
15. Social Distancing Requirements. For purposes of this Order, Social Distancing Requirements includes maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.
a. Required measures. Essential Businesses and Operations and businesses engaged in Minimum Basic Operations must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements, including where possible:
i. Designate six-foot distances. Designating with signage, tape, or by other means sixfoot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distance;
ii. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products. Having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers;
iii. Separate operating hours for vulnerable populations. Implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers; and
iv. Online and remote access. Posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely.
Outdoor Recreation Area Exception
5. Leaving the home for Essential Activities is permitted. For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following Essential Activities:
c. For outdoor activity. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements, as defined below, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas. However, public access playgrounds may increase spread of COVID19, and therefore shall be closed.