Desert Sun: Coronavirus: Palm Springs will allow golf, tennis and pickleball to resume
Palm Springs will allow recreational activities like golf, tennis and pickleball to resume after courses and courts had been closed for weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Following more than an hour of discussions, the City Council expressed support Thursday night for the loosening of restrictions related to the outdoor activities.
Before golf courses may reopen, operators must submit a written plan that demonstrates their ability to ensure compliance with the order, including how the course will protect staff, guests and neighbors from the potential spread of the virus, according to the city.
During the meeting, council members said golf courses could potentially open as early as Friday if city staff approve the plans. Pickleball and tennis courts could potentially reopen Monday.
The council also supported Riverside County’s recent guidance on the safe use of pools and spas at apartment complexes and pools operated by homeowners’ associations.
“Being able to play tennis or swim is a real benefit for people, for their mental health as well,” Mayor Geoff Kors said.
As of Thursday, golf courses in Palm Springs were closed, even though Riverside County’s Department of Public Health said last month golf courses could reopen with restrictions.
The City Council’s decision came two weeks after they expressed support in preparing a health report and coming up with a plan on how social distancing would be enforced if the activities resumed.
Last month, council members Lisa Middleton and Grace Garner were appointed to an ad hoc subcommittee to look into the possibility of re-opening the recreational facilities and decided what precautions should be in place.
The subcommittee later recommended that city-owned and private golf courses, as well as tennis and pickleball courts, could be allowed to be reopened provided that strict guidelines are in place, according to a staff report.
At the meeting, more than a dozen residents called in, with most expressing support for reopening golf courses, tennis courts and pickleball courts. A few expressed concerns about reopening and the potential impact to public health.
Following the discussion, council members agreed reservations will be required for pickleball and tennis court use. They also agreed the courts should initially be restricted to city residents.
During the reservation process, the city can determine whether the people requesting court access are residents, City Manager David Ready said.
Golf courses will not be subjected to the residency requirements.
Initially, a city staff report detailed 14 separate actions that must be met for the two city-owned courses to reopen at Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort, including allowing play for only full-time or part-time city residents and following the recommendations of the “Park and Play: Making Your Golf Course Social Distance Ready” program from the National Golf Course Owners Association.
At the meeting, council members said it was OK with golf flags and supported outdoor recreation users keeping face coverings on-hand in case they get within six feet of another individual.
In their discussion, council members also supported the proposed golf, pickleball and tennis rules set forth in the staff report.