RHODE ISLAND GOLF COURSE SUPERINTENDENTS ASSOCIATION

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  • July 03, 2020 5:47 PM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    Hello everyone,

    Golf specific guidance has now been updated and posted as part of Phase III Guidelines for Recreational, Historical, Cultural, and Entertainment Establishments.

    Dual cart riders are now permitted for all players. When players are from different households they must designate one person the driver and both wear face coverings while riding together.

    Should you be hosting events where players arrive and depart around the same time, please keep in mind the social distancing and gathering size guidance for organizing your function, both indoors and outdoors.

    Enjoy your 4th of July weekend.

    Bob

    Robert Ward
    Executive Director
    Rhode Island Golf Association

  • July 02, 2020 10:42 AM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    Hello Everyone,

    I would like to apologize for the lack of communication the last couple of weeks, but the bottom line is we have had little to no communication with the Governor's Staff.   It's been extremely frustrating trying to get restrictions eased for our industry. 
     
    Currently golf-specific activities are still operating under Phase II guidance. The golf industry Phase III plan was submitted four weeks ago and has not yet been approved. We also have sent in subsequent emails detailing the ease of restrictions in Conn., N.H., V.T and Maine. There have also been communications detailing golf regulations/restrictions in other parts of the country.
     
    I can assure you that Government Strategies and the RIGA are working daily to try and get restrictions eased and clarified.
     
    Here are the Phase III updates that have changed which are specific to other parts of running your business. As a reminder, all guidance can be found in greater detail at https://www.reopeningri.com/.
     
    In Phase III, there is no golf-specific language. Clubs are however expected to follow the guidance for social gatherings, public events and outdoor recreation that are outlined in Phase III Picking-up-speed.
     
    The Executive Order regarding face coverings has been extended to Aug. 3:

    • Face coverings: Face coverings must be worn in public—both indoors and outdoors—whenever six feet of social distance cannot be maintained. Exceptions are made for children under two years of age and anyone whose health would be negatively impacted by wearing a face covering.  

    Other changes for Phase III include:

    • Social gatherings: Social gatherings can be no larger than 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors. For social gatherings like weddings where there is a licensed caterer involved (which makes the setting more like a restaurant) gatherings can be as large as 50 people indoors or up to 100 people outdoors.
    • Public events: Public events can be up to 125 people indoors or up to 250 people outdoors. Any organizers planning to host a group of more than 100 people will need to submit plans to Commerce RI.
    • Indoor settings: All indoor settings operating at a square footage capacity can increase up to one person per 100 square feet, provided that everyone maintains six feet of social distance. All indoor settings currently operating at a percent capacity cap can still increase up to 66 percent capacity provided that everyone maintains six feet of social distance. This includes places like offices and restaurants. Seated venues can open at up to 66 percent capacity, and free-flowing venues can open at 100 square feet per person, provided that everyone maintains six feet of social distance.
    • Travel: Rhode Island will implement a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming to Rhode Island from any state with five percent or greater positivity rate. (Positivity rates are calculated using the average daily positivity rate for the last seven days.) As an exception, people will not have to quarantine if they have had a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours. (If someone is tested after arriving in Rhode Island and gets a negative result, that person can stop quarantining.) The list of states with a percent positive rate of five percent or higher will be published today on RIDOH’s website and will be updated weekly. (Based on this reporting: https://coronavirus.jhuedu/testing/testing-positivity).


    Other guidance documents have been updated for Phase III and are available for: RestaurantsRetailYouth and Adult SportsOffices, and Gyms.
     
    Pools remain subject to the RI Department of Health's Emergency Regulations for Aquatic Venues
     
    As soon as golf specific rules change for Phase III, an email communication will be sent out.
     
    Regards,
     
    Bob

    Robert Ward
    Executive Director
    Rhode Island Golf Association

  • June 04, 2020 11:06 AM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    Hello everyone,

    Golf guidance for Phase II was published this afternoon by the Executive Office of Commerce as part of Reopening R.I. Specific golf information is located under the Phase II outdoor recreational business tab. Specific golf information is located on the top of page four as this document is confusing to follow. Links for each aspect of our industry are located throughout this document as the golf industry has fallen into many different business categories.
     
    This adds unnecessary confusion to an already frustrating process. Navigating multiple regulatory frameworks for operations (golf/recreation, restaurant, retail, gym, pool, beach, park, etc.) is not what we were looking for but will have to live with it until we push for change.

    The RIGA and Government Strategies will be following up with the Executive Office of Commerce tomorrow to note the confusion and conflicting protocols that overlap. We hope to gain additional clarifications and relief for you all soon. This process has been very frustrating as our Phase II plan did include two-person golf carts but was declined by the Executive Office of Commerce that now oversees outdoor recreational businesses. It is the intention of the RIGA and Government Strategies to make every effort to have the golf cart restrictions eased before the start of phase III.  We have requested a meeting with the Director of Commerce by the end of the week.

    A clarification for Out-of-State residents coming to R.I. to golf. The Governor's Executive Order was modified to note that unless traveling internationally or from a domestic place under a stay-at-home order, you can now do business in Rhode Island. This does allow Out-of-State residents to play golf as long as they don’t fall into the categories described above.
     
    Golf specific changes for Phase II include:

    • Groups of up to 15 persons may congregate together on property
    • Putting and chipping areas must follow the 15-person social gathering rule
    • Driving ranges/practice areas must space players six feet apart: all balls, baskets, and all other commonly-touched items must be cleaned and sanitized between uses
    • Tee times are now at the discretion of each club, provided sufficient spacing between groups
    • Caddies and forecaddies are permitted with social distancing, face coverings, hand sanitizer and cleaning of equipment

    As these changes are frustrating to all of us involved, I hope to have better clarification on the changes and a modification for two-person carts soon.
     
    Sorry for the delay of Phase II information as this was a trying week dealing with a new department.

    Bob

    Robert Ward
    Executive Director
    Rhode Island Golf Association

  • May 22, 2020 4:45 PM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    Hi everyone,

    As we head toward the beginning of June, it's important to inform you all of the latest information regarding rules and regulations for COVID-19 in Rhode Island.

    During the Governor's press conference today she announced the extension of Executive Order 20-36 to May 31, with an intention to formally enter Phase II on June 1. The domestic travel restrictions remain in place for the remainder of May but are expected to be lifted on June 1 (unless you are coming from a location under a stay at home order). 

    Additional details regarding Phase I and II guidelines can be found at https://www.reopeningri.com/. Additional industry-specific items will be added next week. We remain in constant communication with the DBR regarding the Phase II golf protocols, advocating for additional relief for our industry and will keep you updated on next steps. Please keep in mind that many of the most difficult and frustrating restrictions are not golf specific, but part of the state's comprehensive reopening protocols for all of Rhode Island. 


    Enjoy the weekend,

    Bob

    Robert Ward

    Executive Director

    Rhode Island Golf Association

  • May 08, 2020 2:48 PM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    Good Morning,

    Here is the link to the latest revision of guidance for the golf industry.

    Golf Industry Guidelines 5/7/20

    Language in the last bullet point has been changed to state "shotgun style" events are prohibited.  Leagues and organized events can be run but you must use tee times.

    Please be advised that these new guidelines go into effect when the Governor announces her phase I plan in re-opening RI.  They do not go into effect immediately.  She should announce today that phase I begins tomorrow.

    A phase II plan for the golf industry has already been submitted to the DBR.
    Hopefully we will have information on these guidelines soon.

    Bob
     
    Robert Ward
    Executive Director
    Rhode Island Golf Association

  • May 06, 2020 11:00 AM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    Good evening,
    As Governor Raimondo prepares for Phase I reopening of Rhode Island, regulators have released guidance to prepare us for this transition. Here is the link for General Phase I Re-Opening RI Guidelines.

    In addition, today the Department of Business Regulation released Phase I Golf Industry Regulations, which while subject to change, are anticipated to become effective on Saturday. Please know the RIGA and Government Strategies remain tirelessly engaged with regulators and government officials to advance the interests of the golf industry.

    While we are still working on critical needs for our clubs, we are pleased to report some key advancements including: 10 minute tee times, push/pull and golf cart usage (single rider only; double if from the same household) and opening of practice areas, among others. It's important to go through each link thoroughly as operating the golf/pro shop operations follow retail guidance and the food/beverage operations fall under those for restaurants.

    Unfortunately, Out-of-State Residents are still not allowed to play golf unless they are here on an extended stay and have completed 14 days of self-quarantine. We remain committed to further expanding this to permit transient out of state club members to play golf, and will keep everyone up to date as the process evolves.

    Please also be advised that the current guidance includes a restriction prohibiting “organized tournaments and leagues.” We have expressed concern regarding this provision, and believe further clarification will follow soon on this point. We believe the intention is to prohibit shotgun style events. We will update you further as clarification is provided, but please note that strict social distancing and social gathering restrictions remain in place.

    We are committed to getting our industry to a point where you can all have a productive and successful spring and summer golf season. We will continue to work to get additional relief, hopefully sooner than Phase II.

    It's important to keep following current guidelines. We are all in this together and rely upon each other to maintain compliance.

    I hope to send out a revised version of this email with updated news before Saturday.

    Regards,
    Bob

    Robert Ward
    Executive Director
    Rhode Island Golf Association

  • April 29, 2020 2:38 PM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    Hi Everyone,

    Hope you are all safe and well.

    I want to report that there is a lot of hard work going on to help the golf industry.  Hopefully we will be able to provide guidance in the next few days so we can all plan properly for May 9 or sooner.  We are currently working to have tee time intervals reduced, golf carts reinstated and practice areas open.

    Effective immediately Rhode Island ADA disability tag holders now have access to a single person golf cart.  This work was accomplished after many hours of working with the DBR.

    Here is the link to the updated DBR rules and regulations for the golf industry.  This rule applies for any Rhode Island resident who shows proof of a Blue ADA Disability Tag.  They are allowed to take a cart that will be sanitized before they play and must be sanitized immediately after they finish playing.

    Bob

    Robert Ward
    Executive Director
    Rhode Island Golf Association

  • April 22, 2020 4:15 PM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    As the COVID-19 emergency disaster protocols remain in place through May 8, it is critical for everyone to continue to strictly comply with the R.I. Department of Business Regulations’ (DBR) guidance for golf courses.

    Click here for document


    Also, Governor Raimondo presented indicators to measure the state's readiness to reopen in general.



  • April 08, 2020 10:45 AM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    Below is an important message from Bob Ward, RIGA Executive Director, about new restrictions for all Rhode Island golf courses starting today Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
    Thank you,
    Julie Heston, Chapter Executive

    Hi everyone,
     
    I first want to thank you all for your efforts the last couple of weeks with changing rules and policies. I understand how stressful it has been. Minus a couple glitches here and there, I believe we are doing our best to represent the golf industry in a positive way.
     
    Many of the complaints that are being received at the state level are from a non-golfing population who don't understand all the great things golf gives back to our communities in a charitable way each year and the economic impact we have with our workforce.
     
    An explain on the situation at Triggs Memorial. The Mayor of Providence made a decision to shut down all city parks and recreational facilities. Triggs is owned by the city of Providence and operated by a management company. Triggs was not shut down for violating any of the rules and guidelines that were in place; it was strictly a citywide decision on the Mayor's part.
     
    Now moving toward the golf season.
     
    You will all have new restrictions starting Wednesday, April 8th which may be difficult to implement, but I believe the weather may help you get through the next couple of days in preparation for the weekend.
     
    In order to keep golf open in Rhode Island we were asked to further safety measures to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 becomes minimal.
     
    Here are the latest regulations which continue or start Wednesday, April 8th:
     

    • All previous guidelines are still in place.
    • Out of state residents are not allowed to play golf publicly or privately.
    • All food and beverage must be take out only.
    • Private club monthly food minimums. Out of state residents cannot travel into Rhode Island for takeout service. Please create policies where food minimums can be addressed.
    • Groups of five or more must not congregate anywhere on the property before or after playing according to the Governor's Executive Order.
    • Practice putting greens, driving ranges and chipping areas must be closed.
    • Groups of play are restricted to no more than FOUR players at one time.
    • Parking lots must be monitored by the club to ensure that tailgating does not happen.
    • Flagsticks must remain in the hole. It is recommended that hole liners be raised or pool noodles be added to the stick so picking a ball out of the hole doesn't occur.
    • Bunker rakes must be removed and ball washers must be removed or covered.
    • New Tee Time policy must be 15 minutes between groups.
    • Golf carts are NOT allowed.
    • Personal push carts are allowed only if brought by the golfer, club push carts are not allowed.
    • All golfers must use their own golf clubs. Sharing golf clubs or rental golf clubs are not allowed.

    Please communicate with your members or customers of these new rules and add that they must stay in their car until five minutes before their tee time and go directly to the first tee.

    As we prepare for what will come next, please start thinking about business plans that will get you through the season. Social gathering restrictions will continue well into the summer. Some of your normal business practices will have to be modified.
     
    I have been in discussion with the other golf industry leaders in New England. We are jointly having discussions on creating a best practices information piece as we get into the main part of the golf season.

    Realistically, we are going to have restrictions on our business models that will make running a golf course in a traditional fashion difficult.  Please feel free to communicate with me as we prepare for a difficult and trying time in our history. This is not easy or comfortable but we must follow rules and regulations to help stop the spread of this virus. 
     
    One other bit of information is that maintenance crews are allowed to work and take care of turf. Please make sure they are following social distancing rules. They should be working in an area where groups of no more than five will gather and should not be taking breaks or lunch together.
     
    Please be safe and remember I am only the messenger. It took a lot of work to keep us open for the near future. We are the only state in New England that has golf as an option. Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are completely shut down and Connecticut has restrictions in many of its counties.

    Stay safe,

    Bob

    Robert Ward
    Executive Director
    Rhode Island Golf Association

  • April 01, 2020 9:39 AM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

    Below is a message from Bob Ward, RIGA Executive Director, with important information for golf courses about maintaining social distancing practices.

    Hello everyone,
    I was contacted by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulations this afternoon. After a long conversation about policies, golf courses will be able to stay open through this weekend as long as we use better common sense and have rules in place that fall within the social distancing orders that the Governor is requiring.

    We are all in this conversation together in the Department's eyes. Doesn't matter if you are a private club, semi-private club or public facility. They have been sent photos and videos from plenty of golf courses both public and private. 

    There are three major issues that need to be addressed:

    1. Tee time intervals need to be restricted to no less than 12 minutes.
    If you get behind on the first tee, you must have a starter who keeps people more than six feet apart from one another. If you are a non-tee time club, you must create a tee time system for this upcoming weekend.

    2. Under the Governor's emergency order, golfers from out of state ARE NOT allowed to play golf until the order is lifted or they can show proof that they self quarantined for more than 14 days.

    3. Most Important. There are videos of golfers hanging out in the parking lot eating, drinking and socializing after golf has ended.

    You MUST have an employee available to keep the parking lot area clear once people finish playing golf. I would suggest you email your golfers and let them know that if they want to order food, they must call when playing the last hole, pick it up to go and then immediately leave the property.

    I would suggest shutting down putting greens, chipping areas and ranges. These are the areas where golfers usually congregate before they play golf.

    The State of Rhode Island will have people traveling to golf courses this weekend checking things out. If we do not comply with these requests, the Governor will shut down all golf courses on Monday afternoon.

    Please use good common sense the rest of this week and moving forward. Post signs, email your golfers, have them pay by credit card, limit one cart per person or walking only and take all the necessary steps (including sanitary) to ensure they don't shut us down.

    Use the guidelines sent to us by the USGA for playing under these social distancing rules.

    I will say I have received many calls and emails this week on both sides of the fence. I know that some clubs have already put good policies in place and have enforced social distance rules. Please keep up the good work and hopefully we have a better weekend. Please remember that your employees are being put at risk and feel uncomfortable with certain situations that are going on Use good judgement not only with golfers but with your employees also.

    As an aside, I'm only the messenger not the guy making the rules. I'm communicating a message, if someone shows up at your club this weekend and things don't look favorable to our industry and the safety practices the Governor requires, we will all be shut down on Monday afternoon.

    Regards,
    Bob

    Robert Ward
    Executive Director
    Rhode Island Golf Association

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