What to Expect When Golfing in British Columbia During COVID-19
Updated October 30, 2020
The province of British Columbia is slowly reopening as our provincial health officer has charted our path through the pandemic with a remarkable relatively low number of cases and deaths. We have been most fortunate for the opportunity to play golf through the pandemic as golf was recognized as a safe outdoor activity for enjoyment at local golf courses with safety protocols in place.
While we eagerly await the green light for extended travel once again from our PHO Bonnie Henry, we are encouraging you to plan a British Columbia golf getaway. With over 80 golf courses in nine different golf regions, your options for a stay & play vacation in BC’s backyard are plentiful. If you are contemplating a BC golf trip during the current climate, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with current protocols and recommendations prior to your visit:
Provincial Travel Guidelines
British Columbians who wish to travel within B.C. are advised to plan ahead and be respectful while visiting communities, especially smaller and rural towns. The provincial health officer has laid out travel guidelines for everyone travelling to and within B.C.:
- Pre-trip planning and research on available resources at arriving destination;
- Respecting any local travel advisories to isolated and remote communities;
- To travelling for anyone who is sick, and if symptoms develop while travelling – self isolate immediately and contact 811 for guidance and testing;
- Practising safe physical distancing of two metres at all times;
- Spending time in small groups (preferably just family members) and open spaces; and
- Practising good hygiene, including frequent handwashing and cleaning
Golf Course Status & Protocols
- The majority of BC’s featured public golf courses were open through the 2020 golf season and permitted play. While many are closed for winter, year-round golf opportunities are available – for an up-to-date list of featured golf course status, visit our blog post.
- British Columbia golf courses that have chosen to open had to immediately comply with the requirements of the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC, and were provided COVID-19 Protection – Best Practices for the Responsible Operation of BC Golf Courses by the Allied Golf Association – BC.
- Maintaining physical distancing is key upon arrival and departure at British Columbia golf courses, and relatively easy to observe once on the golf course itself.
- To minimize congestion around the Clubhouses, please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before your tee time, or 30 minutes if you would like to use the practice facilities.
- Current protocols permit members of the same household or social circle to share power carts, which are sanitized between use. Some golf carts have dividers installed between the driver and passenger set for additional safety and sharing possibilities.
- A number of protocols have been implemented to reduce the number of touchpoints for players on the golf course, including pre-payment of rounds or use of debit/credit cards, cup inserts so balls can be easily removed without having to touch the flag, the removal of rakes, and regular sanitization of common areas including frequent cleaning of washroom facilities.
- Many golf courses are not yet permitting walk-on players, booking a tee time in advance is strongly recommended.
- Golf clubhouses are operating at 50% capacity so reservations are recommended and most golf courses have take out or grab and go food and beverage options available on the course.
- The availability of rental clubs at individual golf courses varies, please plan to bring your own golf clubs or inquire before booking.
- Each golf course will have its own policies in place, kindly familiarize yourself with their protocols prior to arrival and we ask for your understanding as we are all in this together and doing our best to ensure the health and safety of our staff, our communities and our golfing guests.
- In accordance with the Provincial Health Authority, the BC Hotel Association has created a set of Tourism and Hospitality Guidelines for Accommodations operating during COVID-19.
- Hotels have implemented reduced occupancy levels to enhance the safety of staff and guests.
- Guests are not required to be from the same household to share a room.
- Please note physical distancing measures in place while checking in, taking the elevator, etc.
- Common areas such as pools, hot tubs, saunas, restaurants and other amenities will only be opened under the supervision of the Provincial Health Authority, and as such may not be offered currently at the hotel you are considering – check with our golf vacation specialists if you require certain amenities during your stay. Some amenities may require a reservation in order to ensure maximum capacities are not exceeded.
- Once vacated, rooms will remain empty for three hours before housekeeping enters. Staff will wear standard Personal Protective Equipment and the room will be fully disinfected and sanitized.
- Room service deliveries will be left outside the room, and daily housekeeping will not be provided. Guests can request that clean linen be delivered to their door upon request.
- As of October 9th, 2020, additional safety measures have been required for BC restaurants. Restaurants are permitted once to offer dine-in service provided that they meet the provincially-mandated criteria for distancing and sanitizing. These measures include limited groups to six people or less and ensuring each group seated is at least 6 feet apart.
- Barriers may have been added between booths, tables and services areas.
- Liquor sales for on-site consumption end at 10:00 pm.
- Restaurants are operating at a reduced maximum occupancy of 50% of their regular capacity – reservations are strongly recommended as a result of these measures.
- Wine, cidery, and brewery tours are available with reduced capacity, reservations are recommended.
- Select Spa facilities are open or opening soon including Amatista at Bear Mountain Resort, KurSpa at Sparkling Hill Resort, Le7ke Spa at Quaaout Lodge and Talking Rock Resort, and the Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara.
- Museums, gardens and art galleries reopened beginning June 15th.
- Parks, beaches, and trails are open – be aware that some washroom facilities are still closed and familiarize yourself with the current guidelines.
- Whale watching tours are operating at limited capacity, booking in advance is recommended.
- Nightclubs in BC closed until further notice. It is likely that this closure will extend until a COVID-19 vaccine has been developed and a majority of the population has been inoculated.
- Bars are open with restrictions, including the cessation of alcohol sales by 10:00 pm and closing by 11:00 pm. Patrons are required to remain at their assigned booth, table, or counter.
- Individual retails stores also vary and more are opening daily, however essential items are readily available.
Reservation Policies with Golf in British Columbia
- QUOTES: Everything that we do can be customized so if there is something that you’d like us to change, please don’t hesitate to ask.
- RESERVATIONS: A credit card is needed to hold your reservation. NOTHING gets charged to your card until all aspects of your trip have been booked, you’ve had a chance to review the confirmed itinerary and you have given us the authorization to go ahead with charges.
- PAYMENTS: A 20% non-refundable deposit is taken at the time of your approval with the remaining balance taken automatically 30 days prior to arrival. There is no need to contact our office to make the final payment. You’ll receive an email after the transaction has taken place to confirm that your package is complete and that the vouchers will be emailed to the address that you provided us upon booking. If your trip is within 30 days, we will take the full balance
- INCLUSION, CHANGES, CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS: Trips include all the items that are indicated on the trip summary page. Items such as hotel parking, meals, incidental items that you charge to your room, pro-shop purchases etc are not included in the package unless specifically stated. Trips can be changed twice without penalty. Additional changes may be subject to a $25 change fee. With the exception of the 20% deposit and a $2 per person per tee time booking fee for trips in Whistler, your trip is fully refundable up until the date of travel less any credit card fees, cancellation or no-show fees imposed by hotels and golf courses. Your 20% deposit is transferable towards another package of similar value any day in the future. Your credit does not expire. Just contact us and we can apply your deposit for golf or accommodations at a time that works better for you. If courses are rained-out we will fully refund your credit card for the green fee amount. The playability and conditions are at the sole discretion of the pro shop on the day of play.
Getting Around BC
- Find current driving information and notices on Drive BC.
- Rental car companies are also dedicated to ensuring a safe experience for customers, including sanitizing vehicles with a disinfectant that meets leading health authority requirements, with particular attention to more than 20-plus high-touch points.
- Masks are mandatory on ferries and at terminals.
- Passengers travelling on enclosed vehicle decks are required to leave their vehicles during the sailing to comply with Transport Canada’s regulation.
- “Grab and go” and limited hot food services are available on select routes.
- Keep apprised of current BC Ferries policies here.
- Note that around the province there is a reduction in the number of sailings on BC Ferries’ routes and reservations are recommended.
- All major carriers are operating within British Columbia including Air Canada, WestJet, Harbour Air Seaplanes, and Pacific Coastal, however, most are operating with reduced schedules and capacity to increase physical distancing.
- All have enhanced cleaning protocols.
- Air Canada is requiring passengers and employees to wear facemasks during the flight.
- COVID-19 travel restrictions, exemptions and advice provided from the Government of Canada – avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
- Border restrictions between Canada and the United States restricted to essential travel extended until late November – CBSA Border Regulations.
- BC’s provincial government has extended the provincial state of emergency to November 10, 2020.
- Review Destination BC information and resources for travellers before visiting.
- BC Centre for Disease Control (CDC)
- Government of Canada Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel advice
- Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
- HealthLinkBC 8-1-1 – Common Questions about COVID-19
- Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories
- Follow Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam on Twitter @CPHO_Canada
- British Columbia Pandemic Provincial Coordination Plan
To help mitigate the spread of any cold, flu or viruses, including COVID-19: Wash your hands regularly, stay home or away from others when not feeling well, if feeling unwell call 1-833-784-4397 or see a doctor, cover your mouth and nose when you cough/sneeze, don’t touch your face with uncleaned hands.
#staysafe #stopthespread and #explorebclocal when you #golfbc!