Golf Clubs across the England, Wales and Northern Ireland have today shut their doors in an effort to impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak which has severely disrupted daily life all over the world, and already caused the death of nearly 17,000 people.
The move comes as a result of an announcement made on Monday night (23rd March) by Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who effectively ordered a 'lockdown' across the nation after a weekend which saw a sharp spike in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and significant strain being placed on the National Health Service.
Following the address, England Golf released a statement, later echoed by the Golfing Unions of both Scotland and Wales, explaining that 'golf club courses and facilities must close'.
The England Golf statement continued:
"It is England Golf’s position that this deeply regrettable, but highly necessary and responsible course of action must be implemented with immediate effect and be maintained until further notice."
"The government has identified an urgent need to introduce new restrictions on public life and on non-essential businesses opening their doors."
"This has been done to limit the spread of the coronavirus and relieve the growing pressure on our National Health Service.
Keeping golf courses open is simply no longer compatible with the updated policy of government which is designed to save lives in a time of national emergency."
"The health and wellbeing of the nation is the only consideration that matters at this moment in our history."
Whilst this only provokes many more questions being asked regarding the staff at golf clubs, let alone the financial repercussions that this may have on some clubs which are already struggling with operating costs and dwindling memberships, England Golf attempted to provide some reassurance:
"We would like to assure the golfing community that England Golf staff will continue to work remotely with all affiliated golfers, clubs and counties to try and minimise the damage caused by this suspension of regular golf club life."
"We will continue to signpost clubs and counties to the latest government advice and schemes designed to help the economy cope with the disruption caused by coronavirus."
With the lockdown lasting at least three weeks, according to the Prime Minister, it is unknown when it may be possible for golf clubs to re-open for golfers looking to use the facilities as a means of exercise, but the government and relevant golfing authorities seem keen to stress that this is an active and fluid situation which could be subject to change at any point.
What are your thoughts on the England Golf statement? Is it right that golf clubs and courses should be shut at this point?
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