After mutual consultation, on Wednesday five of the key stakeholders in Canadian golf who make up the National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA) released a joint statement in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In multiple provinces only “essential” businesses have been allowed to operate, as dictated by the government, causing many golf clubs to close, although the majority in the country had not yet opened for annual play.
In preparation for that possibility and given the current movement within the nation to reduce the population’s activity to help reduce the spread of this new Corona Virus, NAGA came forward with a united declaration.
It was markedly softer than the statements made by Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum to the Canadian Press this past weekend that advocated for all golf facilities to close. This was in line with the letter that followed soon after from British Columbia Golf CEO Kris Jonasson appealing to the provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Sunday, March 22nd to suspend play at all course. (No link to that letter as the related post on the British Columbia Golf page has been transformed into a Covid-19 Update. See that here.)
With varying perspectives in play it is not surprising that the tone of the NAGA statement falls a little more to the centre of the topic while stressing health and safety in an industry that employs many Canadians.
The memo, which was released across multiple platforms, consisted of the following:
We Are Golf (The National Allied Golf Associations/NAGA) are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our members, golfers, staff, volunteers and industry stakeholders as well as every Canadian in the communities where we live, work and play.
The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented and difficult time for Canadians. We Are Golf fully supports the recommendations and guidelines of Health Canada, the World Health Organization and regional public health experts to stop the community spread of the virus. As leaders in an industry that employs more than 300,000 Canadians and includes nearly six million golfers from coast to coast, our priority above all else is the health and safety of our people and our communities.
Where governments have not mandated the temporary closure of golf courses, operators of those facilities should take every health and safety precaution. We Are Golf also advocates for the essential need for golf course property maintenance during any of the temporary closures to be ready for operation while taking every health and safety precaution.
We look forward to better and healthier days and when the time is right for Canadians to return to recreational normalcy, clubs and courses will be ready to welcome golfers back to the tee.
Golf Canada | PGA of Canada | National Golf Course Owners Association – Canada | Canadian Society of Club Managers | Canadian Golf Superintendents Association