As states across the country issue stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), golfers are still able to hit the green as many locations have declared the sport essential.
On Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey enacted a stay-at-home order through the end of April, requiring all residents to remain home unless going out for an essential activity, The Hill reported.
The governor’s order deems outdoor recreational activities as essential, so long as it is possible to practice social distancing.
“This includes golf courses if restrictions on food and beverage service under Executive Order 2020-09 are followed,” the order reads, according to the news release.
However, the governor has faced criticism for the decision, as the activity continues to bring groups of people together.
Ann O’Conner, an Arizona resident whose home looks over a private golf course, told The Guardian that as it remains open, she continues to see people piling into golf carts and golfers playing together in groups.
“It’s really disconcerting because you just see these people and there’s no social distancing,” O’Connor told the outlet. “It is like a huge, sick experiment.”
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego called Ducey’s order “insufficient.”
“Essential services during #COVID-19 are not golf and beauty salons. They are first responders, grocers, pharmacists, and few others,” she wrote.
As of the morning of April 1, Arizona has reported 1,298 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 24 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
Arizona isn’t the only state to keep golf courses open as the virus continues to spread.
According to the Myrtle Beach Sun News, North Carolina issued a stay-at-home order March 27 with the exclusion of golf, as did South Carolina after passing the state’s order on Tuesday.
In Florida, many golf courses are staying open as well. According to Golfweek, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an order on March 17 to reduce crowd sizes in restaurants, nightclubs, and beaches, however, golf courses were left out of the picture.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that golf courses in Ohio are allowed to stay open under Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order, so long as golfers practice social distancing while on the green.
“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,” Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Melanie Amato told the outlet Tuesday.
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