Good evening,

As you may recall, on April 9th, I alerted you to certain additions to the categories of businesses that are considered essential by New York State.  Among other things, that alert noted that golf courses were expressly considered “non-essential” and thus, were subject to the 100% workforce reduction restriction and thus likely closure.

This afternoon, the Empire State Development Corporation issued an update to its guidance for determining whether a business enterprise is subject to a workforce reduction under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Orders.  ESD specifically revised its guidance to modify the previous guidance that golf courses were non-essential.  The guidance now expressly provides (as highlighted below):

  • “However, golf courses are not essential and cannot have employees working on-premise; notwithstanding this restriction, essential services, such as groundskeeping to avoid hazardous conditions and security, provided by employees, contractors, or vendors are permitted and private operators may permit individuals access to the property so long as there are no gatherings of any kind and appropriate social distancing of six feet between individuals is strictly abided.”

Thus, starting today, golf courses owned by a private operator can be used by individuals as long as they abide by social distancing rules and that there cannot be gatherings of any nature or sort.  Access to those golf courses will be determined by the private operators.  As such, it would appear that at the very least, members of a private golf club will be able to hit the links under certain restrictive conditions if the private operator determines to open the golf course.

Have a great weekend and stay safe.  And to those who play – hit them straight…and stay safe.