The UKGF – as part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, along with other leading industry bodies – is extremely disappointed with golf’s lockdown in England, having made a strong case in recent months to keep golf open
Following the UK Government’s announcement last night, the complete lockdown of England with immediate effect and the changes in golf operation for Scotland, the UK Golf Federation believes that there are inconsistencies in the vision of how golf can operate safely and still offer its health benefits to the community.
In Scotland, they are permitted to keep courses open subject to 2-ball play and the early indicators are that coaching can continue 1-2-1 (unless for under 12s where there is no limit on group sizes). However, the biggest challenge will be around the travel restrictions that could become legislation. These could affect golf clubs being able to stay open.
By contrast England will see golf in a complete lockdown, where golf clubs, golf facilities – both indoor and outdoor – and driving ranges will be required to close, including coaching which will not be permitted. Golf retail will be able to operate a ‘click-and-collect service’ where goods are pre-ordered and either collected from the premises or delivered.
Richard Haygarth, Chairman of the UK Golf Federation commented, “Yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister that England is entering a third lockdown and that golf must close was a hammer blow to the golf industry and the golfers it serves.
“Since golf reopened on 13 May 2020 the industry has shown that it can operate safely. The mental and physical health benefits of golf are widely accepted and during the current lockdown people can walk and cycle with one other person on a golf course but not play golf.
“The Scottish Government has recognised this and the UKGF calls on Downing Street to change its lockdown policy on golf in England and help the 3 million + golfers to get through what looks like being a very difficult Winter, particularly regarding mental health.
“There may be some good news, however. The Government is releasing new funds to help support all businesses through the new lockdown and I suggest members take time to look through this link and ensure they claim for everything available for their business.”
£4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000, the Chancellor has announced. Chancellor announces one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring
A £594 million discretionary fund also made available to support other impacted businesses comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme.
Richard Haygarth continued: “This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement last night that these businesses will be closed until at least February half-term in order to help control the virus, and, together with the wide range of existing support, provides them with certainty through the Spring period.
“The cash is provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions, and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, worth £4 billion in total across all nations of the UK. So, please check-out all the options for government support as it seems like we have a quite a few weeks of lockdown and restricted access to golf courses ahead of us!”