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Orange County Opens Golf Courses Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

Orange County officials allowed for the opening of public and private golf courses, but with added safety regulations, on April 23 amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Although golf courses are not on the list of unnecessary businesses, public pressure has led to the reopening of many courses. For over a month, 90% of OC golf courses were closed in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order. 

The board of supervisors unanimously agreed that golf courses can reopen with supervision and regulation. Supervisor Lisa Bartlett brought this recommendation to the board after speaking with golfers and golf course owners about how they wanted to reopen golf courses as a way to get outside while maintaining social distancing.

Orange County Health Officials said that Orange County will continue to keep certain regulations for months after California relaxes social distancing orders. 

“The last thing we want is to do is open up the flood gates and watch our cases go up again uncontrollably,” Public Health Officer Nichole Quick said

Golf course owners have allowed the public to come back to use the course, but with added safety regulations. Golf courses have to regularly clean items that are often touched, such as golf carts. Golf players are also staggered for playing times to maintain social distancing while on the course. Restaurants, restrooms and shops are to remain closed while golf courses are reopened. 

The Newport Beach Golf Course has taken safety regulations a step further by blocking golf holes with pool noodles in golf holes in order to lower the risk of contamination when players go to retrieve their balls.

“Business has been terrific even if we have to bark at them,” Keith Wyrick, general manager of the Newport Beach Golf Course, said.

Chloe Mosier is a Staff Writer. She can be reached at mosierc@uci.edu.