Covid-19 exit plan: Golf clubs will only be open to members who live within 5km

Department of Health confirms distance restrictions will apply to golf courses

Golf club members who live further than 5km from their home course will not be able to play there until June 8th. File photograph: Inpho

Golf club members who live further than 5km from their home course will not be able to play there until June 8th. File photograph: Inpho

 

Golf clubs across Ireland are set to reopen on May 18th as part of the first phase of the Government’s coronavirus exit plan but only people who are members of a club within 5km of their homes will be allowed to play, according to the Department of Health.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the five stage plan to reopen Ireland on Friday with golf courses and tennis courts included in phase one which begins in a little over two weeks.

From this Tuesday, May 5th the travel restriction limit - which is currently set at 2km - will extend to 5km and will remain in place until it is extended to 20km on June 8th.

After some initial confusion, a spokesperson for the Department of Health confirmed to The Irish Times on Saturday that only essential journeys can exceed the travel limits and that going to play golf does not come under that remit.

The Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) said on Friday that they would be publishing a document next week advising golf clubs on how they can implement safe golf with social distancing in place while they also clarified that, initially, play will be for members only and no competitions will take place.

The GUI have not said when play will be possible for non-members or when competitions can begin and some of the finer details are expected to be cleared up when the document is published. However, going by the Government’s exit plan, golf club members who live further than 5km from their home course will not be able to play there until June 8th and those who live further than 20km won’t be able to play until July 20th.

That’s the date when stage four of the plan kicks in which allows people to travel beyond their region. The dates set out in the document are also subject to change depending on whether the virus flares up again. Meaning there is a possibility of restrictions being reintroduced.

“Unfortunately the risk of a second wave of the virus is ever present,” the Taoiseach said. “So we can only move from one phase to the next if the virus stays under control between each phase. And there is a risk that we’d have to go back a phase if that happens.”

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