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Illinois' modified stay-at-home order allows golf courses to reopen under new safety guidelines

“We’re gonna do this correctly, and set a precedent,” Nobbe said. “And hopefully get everybody else opened up and get business back to normal everywhere.”


The state of Illinois modified its stay-at-home order, effective through May 30.

The new order allows some non-essential businesses to reopen on Friday, but comes with many heightened safety regulations. The modified order allows certain non-essential businesses, state parks, and golf courses the chance to reopen outside of curbside food delivery and prior services.

Annbriar Golf Course general manager Russ Nobbe said the process to get to this point has been complicated.

“We had a lot of different mandates,” Nobbe said. “A lot of different policies. And we would get set up to do golf, and then it would get a new mandate. So, we’d have to change things. it was very frustrating.”

In order to operate under Illinois’ modified stay-at-home order, courses must implement heavy restrictions. 

“A whole bunch of new guidelines just as far as sanitizing door handles,” Nobbe said. “We’ve removed all the rakes from the bunkers. Around the flag stick and the hole we actually have a pool noodle so the ball does not fall all the way into the hole.”

Those are only a few of the enforced guidelines at golf courses permitted under the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

State parks will begin a phased reopening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources.

Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted.

Illinois has also reopened certain businesses that weren’t originally deemed essential businesses, have entered the essential category. A few examples are as animal grooming locations, garden shops, and greenhouses. 

All of these businesses, like golf courses, must operate under specific safety guidelines in which social distancing rules must be followed. All employees must wear a face covering

Nobbe said it’s important that this first wave of businesses showcase the ability to operate safely.

“We’re gonna do this correctly, and set a precedent,” Nobbe said. “And hopefully get everybody else opened up and get business back to normal everywhere.”

Retail stores are also allowed to reopen, to fulfill telephone and online orders through a curbside and delivery process. 

Annbriar was operating through curbside food delivery during the original Illinois stay-at-home order, but said the opportunity to reopen the course makes a big difference.

“Our business is golf number one,” Nobbe said. “And food is great, and we appreciate it, but we need to have golf to be successful. So for us, it’s kind of a light at the end of a tunnel.”

While each business has specific safety guidelines it must follow, social distancing is mandatory across the board.

All individuals over the age of two must now wear masks in public places, and where social distancing at least six feet apart isn’t possible.

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