A Massachusetts golf course owner said she plans to reopen within the “next few days” despite the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order, Fox News reported Monday.
Cara Cullen, the owner and manager of the Wachusett Country Club and the Kettle Brook Golf Club in central Massachusetts, told the news outlet that the five weeks her family-run golf course has been shut down have been financially devastating for the business and its employees. She has since had to “pretty much let all of them go.”
With the reopening, Cullen said her top priority is ensuring customer and employee safety. The business will aggressively clean golf carts, implement single-use golf carts, enforce no congregating in the parking lot, ensure no entry in buildings, have people check-in outside, require employees to wear masks and gloves and install new flagpoles to prevent hand contact, Fox News reported.
The business owner said she understands the severity of the virus, as her mother-in-law was “one of the first people to pass away from the virus in Massachusetts.”
“I do know how serious this is," Cullen said. "I don't think this is a hoax. I think it's serious. And my four children never saw their grandmother again and haven't been able to properly grieve.”
Cullen cooperated with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) initial order to shut down nonessential businesses in March. Originally, Baker set a target reopening date for Monday but has since delayed it until May 18.
The governor had announced last week the formulation of an advisory board to help the state economy reopen, but Cullen called it a “delay tactic” and expressed frustration that it wasn’t created five weeks ago.
“Basically for five weeks, I've sat by watching my family business get destroyed while thousands of golfers have crossed the borders to go to Connecticut and New York, which is causing huge safety concerns,” she said.
Golf courses are open in 45 states but also closed in Vermont, Maryland, Washington and New Hampshire. Washington is set to reopen them on Tuesday, and New Hampshire is scheduled to reopen them on May 11. Vermont and Maryland, like Massachusetts, do not have a set end date for the ban, according to Golf Adviser.
Baker’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.