Update from Ontario’s We Are Golf partners
Key Updates on Face Masks in Carts and
F&B Operation Rule Changes
March 26, 2021

Dear Partners/Key Stakeholders:
We hope you are all enjoying the onset of the beautiful spring weather and looking forward to the 2021 golf season. In our previous letter dated February 24, we referenced the fact that we were happy to have worked with the Ontario government to ensure that golf would be included as a recreational option upon the return to the provincial colour coded framework. We are sure you are all working hard to get your courses ready for the season.
One of the key messages is that we all need to work to CONTINUE TO BE SAFE in 2021. As an industry, we proved in 2020 that with the right protocols in place, golf was incredibly safe. As a result of the diligence of our golf courses with these protocols, as far as we know, not one person contracted COVID as a result of playing golf this past season. Looking ahead to 2021, it is important that you plan to continue to implement the successful protocols from 2020 that we know will make us successful again in 2021. Here is a link to the NGCOA Canada’s Best Practices & Operational Resources that was created last season, and updated for 2021, for Ontario golf courses. 
Equally importantly, it is important to note that ultimately, it is the government with the local Public Health Unit (PHU) authorities that are setting the guidelines for businesses. Your We Are Golf partners are committed to continuing to stay in close contact with the government to ensure timely communication of any changes.
Here are a few key Government of Ontario links for your reference that we encourage you to check back on regularly to ensure you are following proper guidance:

  • What colour zone is your business located in … today? This is constantly changing and updated for all regions across the province, quickly view the map by clicking here.

  • Please refer to the sector-specific public health and workplace safety measures outlined in the legislation directly from the Ontario government (as this may change at any point) for all colour zones, including:

  • Stage 1 (Grey - Lockdown)
  • Stage 2 (Red - Control)
  • Stage 3 (Orange - Restrict; Yellow - Protect and Green - Prevent)

Again, based on everything we know today, the directive for 2021 is for golf facilities to follow the same protocols on the course that you had in place in 2020, with one significant difference:
Face Masks Required in Carts
The one new regulation that has been written concerns carts and masks. This clause is in the regulation links above for all five colour coded regions. Specifically, it states:

Any person, including a person who performs work at the amenity, while driving or riding on an open-air vehicle within the amenity, must wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin, unless,

1. the person driving or riding on the vehicle is entitled to any of the {following exceptions}:
  • is a child who is younger than two years of age,
  • has a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering,
  • is unable to put on or remove their mask or face covering without the assistance of another person,
  • needs to temporarily remove their mask or face covering as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety,
  • is being accommodated in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005,
  • is being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code.
2. all persons driving or riding on the vehicle are members of a single household.
We have been speaking with high-ranking Ontario government officials, and they are unable to provide written confirmation of the exact interpretation of this regulation. As well, one of our facilities in the Windsor Essex region was in contact with their local PHU officials. While we do not have firm written guidance, it is our understanding that the cart rules for the 2021 golf season should be as follows:

  • All persons driving or riding on the vehicle who are members of the same household, are not required to wear masks.

  • Further to this, a solo rider is therefore also not required to wear a mask.

  • Two people driving or riding together on the vehicle who are not from the same household are required to wear a mask.

  • This direction on masks supersedes any previous direction on cart dividers. You are certainly free to continue to use cart dividers if your facility would prefer, but use of divider is not required, and does not negate the need for masks for two or more riders in the same cart from different households.
Here is a link to the NGCOA Canada’s Signage Templates which now includes the Face Masks Required in Carts sign.
It was also indicated that authority for interpretation of this falls with the local PHU so if you are uncertain in your region, please reach out to your local PHU inspector/official.
Recent Significant Changes in Orange, Red & Grey Zones Impacting your F&B Operation
As of March 20th, the Ontario government has adjusted dining capacity limits at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, for regions in the Grey-Lockdown, Red-Control and Orange-Restrict levels of the Framework.
For regions in the Orange-Restrict and Red-Control levels, capacity limits for indoor dining will be adjusted and based on a standard, scalable calculation that will allow for up to approximately 50 per cent of the indoor dining area to be accessible to the public, subject to physical distancing rules. The total occupancy cannot exceed 50 patrons in Red-Control and 100 patrons in Orange-Restrict.
In addition, while indoor dining continues to be prohibited for areas in the Grey-Lockdown level of the Framework, outdoor dining is now permitted for regions in Grey-Lockdown, subject to physical distancing rules and a number of other public health and workplace safety measures.
To ensure the continued safety of patrons and workers, public health and safety measures in indoor and outdoor settings have also been strengthened in the Orange, Red and Grey levels in the Framework. These measures include, but are not limited to: (note - click on colour zones above for full details)
  • Limiting tables for indoor dining to members of the same household with exemptions for patrons who live alone and caregivers; (NOTE – this does NOT apply to golfers dining outdoors on your patio).

  • Limiting tables for outdoor dining in Grey-Lockdown to members of the same household with exemptions for patrons who live alone and caregivers; and

  • A sign posted by the establishment in a location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity (number of patrons) they are permitted to operate under.
COVID-19 continues to be a challenging virus, resulting in ever-changing direction and guidance for us all. We encourage you to check back on these links regularly and if you have questions, reach out to your local PHU for clarity immediately.
We are extremely excited that all outdoor golf facilities will be allowed to be open in all five colours of the framework and look forward to working together with all of you to build on the momentum from 2020 to have another fantastic year in 2021.
Yours in golf,
Executive Director
Regional Director
NGCOA Canada
Executive Director
PGA of Ontario
Ontario Branch President