The Palm Springs City Council Thursday is expected to discuss allowing golf courses to reopen within city limits, after closing them nearly a month ago due to the coronavirus.
City Manager David Ready told City News Service that if the council votes to reopen courses, it could take a few days before players will be allowed to hit the links again due to the need to draw up safety protocols.
The city ordered most public and private courses closed on March 24, about a week before Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser ordered courses shuttered countywide on April 2.
Neither order applies to the two 18-hole courses in Palm Springs owned by the sovereign Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, which the tribe ordered closed itself in mid-March.
Some golf courses in Riverside County were permitted to resume operations Monday under an amended county health order, spurring courses across the county to reopen, except in Palm Springs where the greens remain closed until the City Council lets them reopen.
“If the county is taking that position, then the City Council is certainly going to review that, and if they agree, then they could follow that order, (but) they may not agree,” Ready said.
Kaiser and CEO George Johnson jointly signed the amended order allowing courses to reopen — with restrictions — in unincorporated areas and cities without local emergency orders covering the subject.
Kaiser characterized the change as part of an effort to “cautiously” move forward with an activity that will be monitored.
Social distancing requirements, namely the 6-feet-apart rule, must be observed by players, with no more than four to a group — and all wearing face coverings. No caddies are allowed. Clubhouse dining, as well as any other in- house affairs, remain prohibited.
Palm Springs city officials could choose to expand on those rules for courses within city limits.
The rules concerning golf courses — both from the city and county — do not apply to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, which operates Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort and Indian Canyons Golf Resort in Palm Springs. The Tribal Council declared a state of emergency on March 17, and ordered its courses along with its casinos and recreational sites closed that week.
Kate Anderson, a spokeswoman for the tribe, told CNS that no updates were available regarding the opening of tribal courses as of Wednesday afternoon.
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