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Safety Standards and Checklist: Golf Facilities

Reopening Phase III mandatory reopening safety standards, recommended best practices and a checklist for golf facilities. Effective: March 1, 2021

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Golf Facility to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

Violation of these standards may result in civil fines of up to $500 per violation; provided that each individual instance of non-compliance and each day of a continuing violation may be fined as a separate violation.  Each person present over any capacity limit specified below may likewise be fined as a separate violation.

Standards for Responsible Golf Facilities in Massachusetts

These standards are issued for golf activities conducted outdoors and for all associated facilities (e.g., pro shop, clubhouse). Indoor golf activities such as indoor driving ranges should follow Indoor Recreation guidance, available on the Reopening Plan website.

No activity at Golf Facilities shall occur without meeting these sector specific COVID-19 workplace safety standards for Golf Facilities. These standards apply to all Golf Facilities until rescinded or amended by the State. The operator of the Golf Facility shall be responsible for meeting these standards.

The following workplace specific safety standards are organized around four distinct categories covering Social Distancing, Hygiene Protocols, Staffing and Operations, and Cleaning and Disinfecting.

Table of Contents

Key Documents for Reopening

Linked below are three important documents:

  1. Workplace Safety Standards - Complete and official sector-specific standards for reopening golf facilities (all workplaces must also comply with the Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces)
  2. Protocol Summary - User friendly summary of the standards and best practices
  3. Checklist - Printable tool to help businesses perform the required self-certification for opening and ensure compliance with the sector-specific standards 

Social Distancing and Capacity Limits

  • Require face coverings for all customers and workers, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability
  • Each business must monitor customer entries and exits and limit building occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:
    • 50% of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder
    • Buildings for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow up to 10 persons per 1,000 square feet of accessible space
    • In any case, no enclosed space within the facility shall exceed occupancy of 10 persons per 1,000 square feet
    • All occupant counts and calculations shall include customers but may exclude staff, and other workers
  • Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals:
    • Close or reconfigure common spaces and high density areas where workers and customers are likely to congregate (e.g., lobbies and waiting areas for customers) to allow social  distancing. Employers are encouraged to close break rooms or limit their use
    • Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be spaced out (partitions must be at least 6 feet in height)
    • Install physical barriers for pro shop counters, checkout stations, etc. where possible
    • Install visual social distancing markers to encourage visitors to remain 6 feet apart (e.g., lines outside of the pro shop if applicable, lines to make payments, lines to use the restroom)
    • Mark rooms and hallways to indicate 6 feet separation
  • Stagger lunch and break times for workers, regulate the maximum number of people in one place and ensure at least 6 feet of physical distancing
  • Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit, one-way pathways). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies
  • Encourage the use of contactless payment methods whenever possible
  • Encourage golfers to walk or use a push cart. Golf carts and push carts must be cleaned and sanitized after each use
  • Tournaments and other competitive events (such as “shotgun style” events) must follow EEA guidance for tournaments, available on the EEA Reopening Site

Hygiene Protocols

  • Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, and allow sufficient break time for workers to wash hands frequently; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
  • Supply workers at the workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)
  • Post visible signage throughout the facility to remind workers and customers of hygiene and safety protocols
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol must be made available at entrances, exits and throughout floor areas of the clubhouse or other indoor spaces for workers and customers
  • Avoid sharing equipment and supplies between workers
  • Disinfect shared equipment before use by another employee
  • Use single-use scorecards and pencils
  • Caddies and bag handlers are allowed, provided social distancing is maintained, cloth face coverings and gloves are worn, and hand sanitizer is used. Encourage caddies and bag handlers to wipe down clubs and other equipment after each use
  • All shared and rental equipment, such as clubs, must be cleaned and disinfected after each use

Staffing and Operations

  • Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:
    • Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
    • Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks
    • Importance of not coming to work if ill
    • When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe
    • Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus
  • Facilities must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:
    • Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    • Worker has not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
    • Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official
    • Workers who fail to meet the above criteria must be sent home
  • Adjust workplace hours and shifts (working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion
  • Maintain a log of workers and customers to support contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information) if needed
  • Businesses are encouraged to offer exclusive hours or other accommodations for those in high- risk populations as defined by the CDC
  • Workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home
  • Workers are strongly encouraged to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer
  • Workers shall not appear for work or complete a shift if feeling ill
  • Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19 to disclose to the workplace employer for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing. If the employer is notified of any positive case at the workplace, the employer must immediately notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located. Employers must assist the LBOH with contact tracing efforts, including advising likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH
  • Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces
  • Facilities should maintain operating hours that allow for on-going off-hour sanitation and cleaning
  • Limit visitors and service providers on site; shipping and deliveries should be completed in designated areas
  • Limit employee movement to discrete work zones to minimize overlap where possible
  • Use of driving range, putting green and other practice facilities must follow social distancing protocols and must require use of face coverings
  • Require customers to reserve tee times in advance
  • Ensure a sufficient gap between group tee times to allow for social distancing
  • Allow water fountains / coolers to be used as refill stations only, provided that social distancing can be maintained. Customers and workers should bring their own water bottles
  • Additional on-site amenities and services may only open and operate when those amenities or services would otherwise be authorized to operate under the Commonwealth’s Phased Reopening Plan and then must adhere to all sector-specific safety protocols, available on the Reopening Plan website, applicable to the amenity or service. Examples include:
    • Restaurants: Must follow the latest restaurant guidance
    • Bars: Must remain closed until Phase 4
    • Pools: Outdoor and indoor pools must follow the latest EEA guidance
    • Gyms/Locker rooms: Must follow the latest health club and fitness center guidance
    • Spas: Must follow sector-specific standards (e.g., massages must follow the latest close contact business guidance, saunas or steam rooms must remain closed until Phase 4)
    • Pro shops: Must follow the latest retail guidance
    • Private events: Must follow the latest indoor and outdoor event guidelines

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms (e.g., toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers) frequently and in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily, and more frequently if feasible)
  • Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning
  • Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas, high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, railings, counters), shared equipment (e.g., bunker rakes, ball washers), and practice equipment (e.g., range balls, baskets)
  • In event of a positive case, follow current CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting areas when someone has a COVID-19 diagnosis. Operations may continue at outdoor facilities provided that all interior spaces remained closed while being cleaned and sanitized in accordance with CDC guidance
  • Open windows and doors to increase airflow where possible
  • Disinfect golf carts and pull carts after each use
Last updated: February 25, 2021