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Batavia CC owner disappointed that state has ruled golf courses as 'non-essential'

By Mike Pettinella

With some warmer temperatures forecast for Easter Sunday and Monday, area golf enthusiasts may have been looking forward to capitalizing on the fact that golf courses were open – although with limited service – for business.

All of that changed on Thursday when Empire State Development, the agency charged with designating businesses as “essential” or “non-essential," moved golf courses into the "non-essential" category.

Golf courses had been open for the past couple weeks.

“It’s really too bad about golf courses. It’s a safe place for people to get, especially if it’s done right (practicing social distancing),” Karen Pompa, owner of Batavia Country Club said this morning. “It can be a relief for people to walk around for four or five hours.”

She said that many of her customers are not happy about the latest New York State restriction.

“I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people saying that they want to get petitions going to open golf courses,” she said.

Pompa said things are quiet at the Batavia-Byron road establishment, which also has had to put a hold on its restaurant business.

“Like everyone else, we just have to wait it out,” she said.

According to Section 13, Recreation, of ESD’s guidance on essential services document:

-- Parks and other open public spaces, except playgrounds and other areas of congregation where social distancing cannot be abided;

-- However, golf courses are not essential;

-- However, use of boat launches and marinas for recreational vessels is not considered essential;

The golf courses mandate is effective through April 29 unless changed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Prior to yesterday’s ruling, the state had allowed golf courses to operate as businesses as long as they abided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state-mandated guidelines, and adhered to safe, social distancing.

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