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STATEMENT FROM GUI AND ILGU
8.45pm, Thursday 22nd October, 2020
Over the past number of days and weeks , the GUI and ILGU have engaged in detailed and extensive discussions with the relevant Government departments and agencies in relation to Level 5 restrictions, and their impact on golf.Since the start of the pandemic in Ireland, both governing bodies have fully endorsed the public health advice of the Irish Government and engaged extensively and successfully with government to ensure an early and safe return for golf.
We have consistently highlighted the health and mental health benefits of golf and the strong compliance with the safety protocols which has ensured that our sport has been a safe outlet for people of all ages over the past five months . We have also highlighted the substantial employment in the sector and the benefits of golf to the Irish economy
The Government has decided however, that Level 5 restrictions mean that all sports facilities, golf included must close. The decision is one that we regret, but also accept.
Following receipt of guidance from government on Thursday evening, the guidance on Level 5 is clear, with the risk to public health meaning that individuals are asked to stay at home, with certain exceptions.
As they are not recognised as essential services, the decision of Government is that all sports facilities must close in the Level 5 restrictions. This includes both indoor and outdoor sports facilities.
It is permitted to open sports facilities for training sessions and scheduled matches for the exempted categories of sport, i.e. high performance and professional.
It will also be permitted to open outdoor sports facilities for structured training sessions by school aged children, i.e. those aged 18 years and younger, in pods of no more than 15, under the supervision of designated coaches and in compliance with approved COVID-19 protocols and all relevant public health guidance.
During these training sessions it will only be permitted for participants and relevant coaching and support personnel to be present. In the case of children's sport, parents will be permitted to attend for child safeguarding purposes, however they will be required to comply with social distancing and other public health advice.
The restrictions applicable in Level 5 are available in full here: https://www.sportireland.ie/news/return-to-sport-expert-group-issues-guidance-to-sports-sector
While it is acknowledged that golf has demonstrated itself to be a safe sport during the pandemic, the wider public health guidance must be adhered to and we encourage all golf clubs and golfers to comply fully with the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team and Government at this time.
The Unions acknowledge the efforts of all affiliated golf clubs throughout the year and would like to thank the volunteers, staff and members of all golf clubs for their work in ensuring our sport is played in a safe and responsible manner.
In the meantime we will continue to engage with the relevant government authorities and agencies with a view to golf courses reopening as soon as possible.