Golf Courses Open May 1, And Other Restriction Updates

Of course you heard that the stay-at-home order has been extended through May. Governor Pritzker, citing updated statistics and models, made that announcement yesterday. But with the updated numbers comes a revision in the restrictions  we must follow, and not all of them are bad!

Our state’s golf courses can reopen on May 1st!

The entire list of restrictions hasn’t been released by the governor’s office yet, but I’d expect to see some common sense social distancing guidlines put in place: things like restrictions on the number of people allowed to play at one time, social distancing in club houses, no touching the pins, limit to the number of people playing in one group, etc. It probably won’t be back to complete normalcy, but hey, wouldn’t it be nice to finally swing a club again!

The new executive order will include the following modifications effective May 1:

• OUTDOOR RECREATION: State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website HERE . Golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and when ensuring that social distancing is followed. (We don’t know what those are yet)

• NEW ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirements and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.

• NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL: Retail stores designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.

• FACE COVERINGS: Beginning on May 1, individuals will be required to wear a face-covering or a mask when in a public place where they can’t maintain a six-foot social distance. Face-coverings will be required in public indoor spaces, such as stores. This new requirement applies to all individuals over the age of two who are able to medically tolerate a face-covering or a mask.

• ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND MANUFACTURING: Essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six-feet of social distancing, as well as follow new requirements that maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of employees and customers. This will include occupancy limits for essential businesses and precautions such as staggering shifts and operating only essential lines for manufacturers.

• SCHOOLS:  Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pick-up of necessary supplies or student belongings. Dormitory move-outs must follow public health guidelines, including social distancing.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is also opening a few state parks come May 1st. Visitors to the reopened sites will be required to comply with social distancing guidelines and other COVID-19 best practices.

The IDNR sites that will reopen May 1are listed below. All other IDNR sites, including state historic sites, will remain closed until further notice. The sites opening in our area include Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail, Kankakee River State Park, Moraine Hills State Park, North Point Marina.

There has been so much water during this warm-ish winter and early spring…those courses are SO green and have been calling my name! Time to go…safely, of course!