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COVID-19: Our New Reality

Public Service Announcement PSA

The Reality

It’s sobering.  It’s depressing.  But rather than curling into a ball, I prefer to look positively and with optimism.

News reports are positive. For the most part here in California, numbers look promising and hopefully with the current mandate to shelter-in-place and additional mitigation measures taken in places like Los Angeles with the use of personal protective equipment (i.e. masks and gloves) those numbers should be further reduced.

But with this fortunate news, it begs the question to be asked — When or HOW do we emerge from this shut-down?

The President has declared a National Emergency until the end of April; leaving the individual states to decide what and how to carry out their preparations and how they handle the Pandemic.  Garcetti declared to extend the Shelter-in-Place until the middle of May.   It’s almost as if our politicians are gun shy of removing the shelter-in-place.

While I commend Garcetti for taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of our residents, I am personally torn between safety and reopening the city for business.

While I am NOT for the total removal of restrictions, I want to approach this pragmatically.  My reasoning is simple.  People need to put food on the table.  People need earn a living and provide for their families.  I am afraid that there will come a point very soon where those individuals that live paycheck to paycheck will not be able to climb out of the debt grave they have dug themselves further pushing them into destitution and an impossible recovery.  The government cannot just give money away indefinitely.  Well it can but at the expense of our economy; depressing the value of our currency further.

The question is will they be worse for not working.  I believe they will be.

Dealing with the NEW Reality

I am not completely insane.  But I realize that we cannot live under a rock indefinitely.  I also accept I could be the next victim of COVID-19 through something as simple as a daily interaction with another individual.

My questions is this:  At present we have essential services running.  Our packages are delivered on a regular basis.  How are they managing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 from their workforce?  How are the grocery stores able to restock their shelves daily with toilet paper and bottled water without their staff contracting COVID-19?  Can we not apply these mitigation techniques to our own businesses as we reopen our economy?

Practicality in this NEW Reality

For the sake of practicality  this is a golf-centric site so we will focus on golf courses and golf course operations in particular but these solutions can be applied to any business willing to reopen.

Working under the simple assumption EVERYONE has COVID-19, how can we prevent the spread at our workplace?

As a business we have a responsibility to keep our doors open.  In order to keep these doors open we will have to create our own mitigation procedures; train staff to comply; and enforce these changes.  Get the Department of Public Health to sign off these procedures and insure or improve where we must.

Golf Courses RE-Imagined

We have time.  We have time to create our own mitigation procedures; train our staff, and create a very positive experience for every golfer, but the clock is ticking.

Every golf course operations are different but we will try to cover the highlights.

  1. Reservations ONLY.  No walk-on’s.
  2. All employees must be screened prior to working.  Currently most facilities use temperature (below 100.4F) to ensure they are symptom free.  All employees screened negative are allowed to work.  All employees screen positive place themselves in self-imposed isolation and the golf course notifies their Department of Public Health to help follow up on the incident.
  3. All Guests are screened prior to entering.  All information is logged to help track possible infections.  Those not showing symptoms are allowed to enter.  Those that are not are turned away.  Again the Dept of Health is notified of this individual.
    1. According to the Department of Public Health an individual is contagious 2 days PRIOR symptoms displaying AND 3 days AFTER symptoms disappear.  Those employees that are sick cannot work for the prescribed period.
    2. Get your Department of Public Health involved.  Their services are currently stretched thin but they have enough data to help you create your own mitigation plan that would help prevent the spread.
  4. All Surfaces must be sanitized on a regular basis.  Create a schedule where your team sanitizes all common surfaces (i.e. door knobs, glass, counter tops, and the like.)  I would list specific areas with places to clean.  If you have to have your staff sign off on those areas, create forms they will use to comply.
  5. The ability to facilitate spatial distancing to be enforced.  Seats that promote congregating should be removed.  Tables and chairs to be removed.
  6. Common Use items are removed from golf course.  (i.e. Flag sticks are replaced with immovable markers, ball washers, rakes, and benches are removed from the golf course.)
  7. If Golf Carts are allowed how do you sanitize each vehicle.
  8. If you use Hand Carts how do you sanitize each cart.
  9. Procedures on how you will as a golf course enforce COVID-19 mitigation.  How to react to a client or staff that has symptoms and who you notify.
  10. Get the proper supplies to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Sanitizing solutions, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The key here is documentation and enforcement.  Saying you’re doing your best is one thing but documenting what you’re doing under the guidance of your local public health department may go a long way to proving you have a plan moving forward.

The key here is proving we are acting responsibly moving forward for the foreseeable future.