Maine Allied Associations Send Letter to Governor Mills
On Monday, prior to the clarification by Governor Mills, Maine's allied golf associations sent the following letter:
March 23, 2020
Governor Janet Mills
1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Dear Governor Mills:
On behalf of the golf industry in Maine, and the nearly 130 golf courses in our state, we stand ready to do our part as local communities, states and the nation continue to respond to the recent Coronavirus 2019 pandemic. We recognize the difficult task the Governor’s Office has in simultaneously keeping the economy going and keeping our citizens safe.
As your Office continues to respond to the evolving situation, we understand that strongly recommended or mandatory closures of gathering places (such as restaurants, bars, gyms, etc.) may be among the preventative measures businesses will need to take. We will certainly play our part, but we also want to share the unique nature of the golf course business.
The clubhouse, golf shop and/or restaurant operation is a small part of the overall footprint of a golf course. We believe the field of play, which typically represents over 200 acres of open space land, should be treated differently from the service areas of a golf course operation. The opportunity for socially distant recreation on a golf course is much like taking a walk through one of our wonderful State Parks. Golf course operators all over the country have been taking extra precautions to ensure playing golf is a safe, touchless experience based on an expanding scope of best practices for routine operations that complies with all health advisories and recommendations by our state and local agencies, as well as Centers for Disease Control. Golf facilities are adjusting their food and beverage operations to comply with all suggested and mandated restrictions, such as limiting all business to take-out food service only and/or suspending food service altogether.
If there is to be a mandate to close businesses around the State to avoid the gathering of people and the interaction with surfaces, we respectfully point you to the State of Michigan, where Governor Whitmer recently mandated the closure of many types of businesses, but allowed golf courses to keep the fields of play open. In that light, and on behalf of the golf community throughout the State of Maine, we ask that you similarly exclude the golf course fields of play in any such mandates.
Thank you for your leadership during these challenging times, Governor Mills. We wish you the very best as you exercise judgment and wisdom to both protect and advance our communities.
Alliance of Maine’s Golf Organizations
Maine State Golf Association - MSGA
Golf Course Superintendents Association of Maine - GCSAME
Maine Chapter of the PGA of America - NEPGA
New England Golf Course Owners Association - NEGCOA