golf course

This is why golf courses are opening everywhere in Canada except three provinces

Golf courses across Canada have begun to reopen to those who've been anxiously awaiting the go-ahead to return the green, but three remaining provinces have yet to announce when they'll be allowing courses to resume operations.

Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia are the last provinces to keep golf courses closed amid the global pandemic, and golfers in these provinces are wondering why the sport — which could allow for physical distancing as long as changes are made — is still forbidden. 

Courses in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and P.E.I. have all been open to the public for a short while now. Meanwhile, golf is permitted to resume in Newfoundland and Labrador starting today and courses can open in Saskatchewan on May 15. 

Restrictions are still in place for courses in Nova Scotia, however, but golf driving ranges can open, including those at golf clubs. While courses must remain closed for now, golf clubs are allowed to perform necessary maintenance and preparations for opening.

In Ontario, courses were allowed to start working on opening preparations on May 4, and pro shops in Quebec were permitted to open with restrictions beginning May 4 as well — but courses in both provinces remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said last week that he's been facing mounting pressure to reopen the province's golf courses, as many of his friends are golfers and have been "lobbying hard" for their reopening.

He also said those pushing for the move have proposed a number of safety protocols that would ensure physical distancing on courses, but that ultimately he will wait for the approval from the province's medical officials before making any decisions. 

And in Quebec, the Quebec Golf Course Association consulted with key industry partners and submitted an outline of proposed safety procedures to government officials. 

But the province is struggling with continuously increasing case numbers, and they had to push back the reopening of non-essential retail businesses in the Montreal area to the week of May 18 — so it's no wonder golf courses aren't the government's first priority. 

Quebec and Ontario are also the two provinces with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country, which is likely another reason why the reopening of golf courses and other non-essential businesses will happen later in these places than other provinces. 

Nova Scotia, on the other hand, has far fewer cases but is also moving slower than other provinces on the golf course front.

Premier Stephen McNeil has eased several restrictions on outdoor recreation in recent days including the reopening of parks and trails, the resumption of the sportfishing season and the reopening of driving ranges. People in the province were also given permission to go to their cottages last week.  

McNeil said these decisions were made to help residents with their mental health following two tragedies within the province in just a couple weeks. 

Still, McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, have continuously emphasized the fact that reopening the province would be a slow process and happen in phases. 

Dr. Strang has also said that the impacts of the initial outdoor recreation reopenings will serve to show whether or not the province is ready to move further ahead with lifting restrictions.

"If opening up the outdoors even in a modest way has resulted in increased COVID transmission, that to me tells us we're not ready to go further," Dr. Strang said last week. 

So while golfers across the country are understandably antsy to get out on the course, those living in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia will simply have to wait a little bit longer.

Lead photo by

Gary Griggs


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