As golfers statewide have launched a petition for the greens to reopen amid the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Chris Sununu says he and his staff are looking at ways to make that happen in the coming weeks.
He cautioned, though, that neighboring states would have to be on the same page:
“... because if Mass. and Vt. and Maine don’t take the same approach, everybody from those states with sometimes higher instances of COVID in the pandemic are going to be rushing into New Hampshire and making a run under our system.”
Sununu answered the question as part of his Q and A, #AskGovSununu, on Twitter Thursday.
Massachusetts has just under 8,000 reported cases of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, much more than the three other states combined. New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine together have fewer than 1,100 cases, with New Hampshire at 479 cases, Maine at 376 and Vermont at 338, as of Thursday, according to the states’ heath departments.
All four New England states have stay-at-home orders declared by their governors, which also requires the closing of non-essential businesses. Golf courses were classified as non-essential in all of the states.
The New Hampshire petition, started six days ago at www.change.org/p/governor-sununu-let-new-hampshire-golf, has garnered more than 8,700 signatures as of Thursday night to “Let New Hampshire Golf.”
The question to Sununu, posted by Twitter user @at0mq on Thursday, said:
“Hi Governor — with the nice weather approaching is there any consideration to open golf courses with more strict guidelines? No carts, more time between tee times, etc..? Golfing and hiking seem to be quite similar in terms of ability to practice social distancing.”
Replying by video, Sununu said, “If we can find a model that works that other states can join into, there may be a possibility of opening them up and again making sure we have that social distancing ensuring that the virus isn’t spreading just because we took those actions.
“We want to provide as much flexibility as we can, but we’ve got to keep people safe as well so we’re working on it, and we’ll see if we can come up with a model for you, and hopefully get folks back out there and doing not just golf but doing other outdoor recreation activities as soon as possible, especially as the warm weather hits. Good luck, and be safe.”