Coronavirus: Alberta golfers ask Dr. Hinshaw to change her mind and open courses

Alberta Golf pushes province for exemption from COVID-19 rules
WATCH (April 10): With Calgary’s golf season just weeks away, Alberta Golf says courses should be exempt from public health orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic because operators can take steps to ensure social distancing. Michael King reports.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify that Graham is not looking to ease social distancing restrictions for other sports or activities besides golf.

Alberta golfers are trying to change the mind of Alberta’s chief medical officer of health to allow courses to open this spring.

READ MORE: Alberta golf courses deemed non-essential service: ‘It could be devastating for the industry’

An online petition, launched by Mark Graham, of Calgary, states Alberta golf courses should receive an exemption from mandated business closures.

As of Tuesday morning, the petition had gained close to 25,000 signatures.

Graham said the support had “exploded.”

Graham said golf courses are already set up for social distancing rules,  and extra restrictions  — like closed pro-shops and restaurants — would be a small price to pay, if allowed to stay open.

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“There are very few activities we can do during this pandemic,” Graham wrote, “golf happens to be one that is safe and manageable.”

Dr. Hinshaw doesn’t consider golf courses essential services
Dr. Hinshaw doesn’t consider golf courses essential services

Dr. Deena Hinshaw addressed golfers’ concerns again during her provincial update on April 13.

Hinshaw said she knows people enjoy golf not only for their physical health, but mental well-being.

“Again, it is one of many sacrifices we are asking Albertans to make,” said Hinshaw.

“Golf has been deemed a non-essential service at this time.”

Hinshaw said the province is looking “very closely” at its numbers, and if it gets to the point where Alberta can ease restrictions, “outdoor recreation is certainly on that list of things to be considered.”

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Hinshaw noted we are not yet at that point.

READ MORE: Alberta expands testing to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms

“That sacrifice, just like all the other sacrifices that Albertans are making, is helping us to maintain that good performance we’ve that we’ve been able to have so far.”

Hinshaw says pandemic will continue to impact Albertans for ‘many months’
Hinshaw says pandemic will continue to impact Albertans for ‘many months’