Greenkeepers can attend work for “security and essential maintenance purposes” during the coronavirus lockdown.
But all work “must be carried out in accordance with government guidelines on social distancing”, and the association that represents the profession is seeking further guidance on what that means.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Monday evening imposed strict new curbs on movement in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
The restrictions insisted people must stay at home except for medical needs, daily exercise, shopping for basic necessities and travel to and from essential work. He added that police would be given the powers to enforce those rules.
That announcement led to England Golf instructing all clubs, courses and facilities to close, while Scottish Golf asked all golfers to “refrain from playing” until further notice.
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The body which represents greenkeepers, the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), subsequently sought government clarification on whether it was appropriate for “limited and cautious maintenance of golf courses to take place”.
England Golf issued a brief statement, which said: “In order to provide clarification for golf clubs following on from the Prime Minister’s statement of 23 March, we are able to inform you of the following: For security and essential maintenance purposes, greenkeeping staff can still attend work.”
And in an email to members, BIGGA chief executive Jim Croxton said the association was now seeking “further clarification urgently” on what essential maintenance would entail.
He wrote: “Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening that the country is effectively in ‘lockdown’, we have been working hard to obtain clarification as to what that means in practice for our members, many of whom are looking for reassurances with regards their careers and income.
“It is an unprecedented time for us all and firstly I want to reaffirm the message that our members’ health and that of their families come first.
“Today we have received the following information from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS): ‘For security and essential maintenance reasons greens staff can still attend work.’
“This is, I believe, only partial clarification. It permits greenkeepers to work on essential maintenance but does not clarify what that means. We are naturally seeking further clarification urgently.
“At this moment BIGGA is working tirelessly for our members; we’re working closely with our golf industry partners to get further clarification from government and also to support all those people in the golf industry that are affected by the crisis.”
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