Golf In A Plague Year March 27: Clarification?
After several days of waiting, the Governor’s office in Michigan has sent what they claim is clarification about golf courses:
Q: Are golf courses allowed to stay open?
A: No. While EO 2020-21 contemplates outdoor activity, opening a golf course to the public does not fall under the designation of critical infrastructure. Consequently, a golf course may not designate employees as critical infrastructure employees and authorize them come to work
However please still refer to section 4b.
For purposes of this order, workers who are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations are those whose in-person presence is strictly necessary to allow the business or operation to maintain the value of inventory and equipment, care for animals, ensure security, process transactions (including payroll and employee benefits), or facilitate the ability of other workers to work remotely.
Businesses and operations must determine which of their workers are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations and inform such workers of that designation. Businesses and operations must make such designations in writing, whether by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means. Such designations, however, may be made orally until March 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
However, the “clarification” does not say that people may not play golf. Consequently, I have heard of several courses that are open on the honor system. There’s a pay box and players may go out without tee times.
These courses have not been “opened,” but people are playing.
Further, if employees can be asked to come to work to maintain the value of inventory and equipment, then maintenance workers should be allowed to go to work for mowing. Otherwise, the course risks going fallow, or missing spring maintenance which will reduce the value of inventory — i.e. the course.
I think the Governor’s lawyers punted on this one.
Those lawyers might be the same ones who let Governor Whitmer spend a week on national television complaining about the lack of Federal help, when no one in charge in Michigan had actually applied for that same Federal help. You can’t get it if you don’t ask for it.
There is a pretty easy solution to the golf question. Pay online. Arrive at the course, wave an ID at someone behind a window in the pro shop or starter shack. Tee off. Walking only. Raised cups. No rakes. Maintain a healthy distance. There’s plenty of room on a course.
On a golf course, you are vastly less likely to catch something than you are in the mobbed Meijer stores. Further, there is abundant evidence that the fresh air and sunshine are healthy.
During the 1918 Flu Pandemic, researchers found that sunlight and fresh air prevented deaths and infections:
Put simply, medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors. A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients; and infections among medical staff. There is scientific support for this. Research shows that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Fresh air can kill the flu virus and other harmful germs. Equally, sunlight is germicidal and there is now evidence it can kill the flu virus.Coronavirus and the Sun: A Lesson From the 1918 Flu Pandemic
Here’s how sunlight works:
During the First World War, military surgeons routinely used sunlight to heal infected wounds. They knew it was a disinfectant. What they didn’t know is that one advantage of placing patients outside in the sun is they can synthesise vitamin D in their skin if sunlight is strong enough. This was not discovered until the 1920s. Low vitamin D levels are now linked to respiratory infections and may increase susceptibility to influenza. Also, our body’s biological rhythms appear to influence how we resist infections. New research suggests they can alter our inflammatory response to the flu virus. As with vitamin D, at the time of the 1918 pandemic, the important part played by sunlight in synchronizing these rhythms was not known.Coronavirus and the Sun: A Lesson From the 1918 Flu Pandemic
And the effect of fresh air:
Patients treated outdoors were less likely to be exposed to the infectious germs that are often present in conventional hospital wards. They were breathing clean air in what must have been a largely sterile environment. We know this because, in the 1960s, Ministry of Defence scientists proved that fresh air is a natural disinfectant. Something in it, which they called the Open Air Factor, is far more harmful to airborne bacteria — and the influenza virus — than indoor air. They couldn’t identify exactly what the Open Air Factor is. But they found it was effective both at night and during the daytime.Coronavirus and the Sun: A Lesson From the 1918 Flu Pandemic
The Romans actually knew this, and designed their valetudinarium to supply fresh air and light to patients:
Each legion fort had its own hospital that surpassed anything any army of the world used until the Civil War … The roof was constructed so as to supply adequate cooling and ventilation. The large central courtyard was a source of quiet, fresh air and light to be enjoyed by recuperating patients.The Ancient World
By Richard A. Gabriel
Fresh air and sunshine are undeniably good for you. So if you can’t get out to play golf, get out to walk around your neighborhood or in a park At least THAT is still legal in Michigan.