Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Golfers turned out in droves to celebrate the re-opening of golf courses across Malaysia and Hong Kong today.
Golf is among a number of non-contact sports and outdoor activities that were given the go-ahead to recommence operations by the Malaysian and Hong Kong governments.
In Malaysia, the news, announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, was welcomed by golf clubs nationwide, which had been shut down since the Movement Control Order (MCO) to combat the Covid-19 pandemic was enforced on March 18.
Most businesses in Malaysia that do not involve human contact or large gatherings were also be permitted to operate from May 4, meaning that pro-shops, restaurants and driving ranges commenced operations subject to social distancing protocols.
“We’re re-opening and resuming operations in accordance with the ‘new norm’, as advised by the Government of Malaysia,” said Tang Meng Loon, Director – Club Operations and Townships, at Kota Permai Golf & Country Club, a Golf Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
In a social media post to members, Tang wrote: “We’ll have various measures in place to ensure your safety and well-being when on club premises. These measures must be strictly adhered to at all times. All our employees have also undergone a Covid-19 screening test and our entire premise will be disinfected daily.”
A report in the South China Morning Post said thousands of golfers were also scrambling to get tee times in Hong Kong after the Government there agreed to reopen nearly all courses following an improvement in the pandemic situation.
The Home Affairs Bureau informed lessees of private recreational leases, under which most golf clubs in Hong Kong operate, they could re-open their sports facilities from today.
“This is good news for our golfers,” said Hong Kong Golf Association Chief Executive Danny Lai. “We have 20,000 members and an overall total of 100,000 golfers in Hong Kong who have been deprived of the opportunity of playing the sport since March because of the pandemic. Now it seems the situation is under better control and hopefully we can get back to business as usual as soon as possible.
“Golf is a non-contact and outdoor sport with no more than four people in a flight each time. We will take all the precautionary measures to minimise the opportunity of infection and make sure it is safe to play again,” he said.
The government requested facility operators adopt the necessary health precautionary and social-distancing measures, such as stepping up cleansing works, arranging temperature checks for people entering the venues, limiting the numbers of users and the use of changing rooms and showering facilities.