Golf will return to a new normal when New Zealand moves down to COVID-19 Level 2.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the conditions for Level 2 today, even though a decision on when the move will happen won’t be made until Monday.
The good news for many is that organised sport, including golf, can start to work towards a return to normal, subject to some very important conditions relating to hygiene, contract tracing and mass gatherings.
“This will be welcome news to many New Zealanders given the restrictions we’ve seen with play, active recreation and sport during Alert Levels 4 and 3, but we ask that organisations and individuals now take time to fully understand the guidelines and what is required of them to make a returned to organised sport safe and compliant,” says Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin.
“We expect that sports will take some time to understand what this means, so people should expect a phased approach of getting organised, establishing appropriate protocols and ensuring volunteers, participants and supporters know how to follow them.”
Under the new guidelines released on the Sport NZ website, large areas such as golf courses or ski fields, individual groups engaging in activities should keep physically distanced from each other.
Care must be taken to avoid interacting at communal points such as entries and car parks. Golf Clubs will be allowed to open cafes and social areas but they will need to restrict crowds to a maximum of 100 people while maintaining a 1-metre physical distancing requirement if a contact tracing register is being used.
For smaller venues, a lower maximum number may be more appropriate to maintain physical distancing.
Sports clubs should follow public health guidelines on physical distancing and personal hygiene. If you are having club events, consider limiting the number to ensure physical distancing can take place, take extra care on cleaning surfaces and when preparing food to minimise risks. Now is not the time to have a large club prizegiving or event, think about keeping things simple.
The Level 2 Guidelines for Physical Activity are available at sportnz.org.nz. These include guidance around hygiene, contract tracing and mass gatherings, and how these apply to various forms of play, active recreation and sport.