Irish golf courses close and horse racing fully shuts down as the Coronavirus containment measures increase

Irish golf courses close and horse racing fully shuts down as the Coronavirus containment measures increase
Bachasson and Cork jockey Paul Townend jump the last to win the Boylesports Steeplechase at Clonmel on Tuesday. Picture: Healy Racing

GOLF clubs in Ireland are to shut and horse racing meets that were going ahead behind closed doors are now called off after the latest government recommendations on the Coronavirus.

The GUI and ILGU now require all golf clubs, courses and facilities to close with immediate effect until April 19, while the horse racing industry is also coming to a halt.

Horse Racing Ireland said: "HRI confirm that racing will cease in Ireland as of midnight tonight as per the latest Government guidelines on Covid-19.

"The Board of Horse Racing Ireland will meet Wednesday morning and will issue a press release soon after."

All golf competitions were curbed already 12 days earlier, but the directive on Tuesday from the governing body means that casual golfers are no longer allowed to use courses around the country. 

The view back from the 15th green at the famous Alister MacKenzie designed course at Cork Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea
The view back from the 15th green at the famous Alister MacKenzie designed course at Cork Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea

The statement from the GUI/ILGU explained: "While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message is clear: People must stay at home to help to contain the spread of COVID-19.

"The unions recognise the need clubs may have for business support at this time. We will monitor options available and engage with the relevant sporting bodies in due course to make representations for our member clubs.

"We know that these decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the respective Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we get the opportunity to play the game that we all love as soon as it is safe to do so."

Clubs are still advised to maintain their facilities.

"For security and essential maintenance purposes, greenkeeping staff can still attend work. All work must be carried out in strict accordance with government guidelines on physical (social) distancing. 

"Clubs should divide course staff into two teams where possible and if one becomes unavailable, the other team will still be okay to work.

"You will appreciate that this is a very fluid situation with new developments almost daily. We will continue to liaise with the appropriate authorities, and will ensure that our clubs are kept informed as to recommended best practice at all times."

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