Area golfers received some good news this week when Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced the scheduled reopening this weekend of two of the county’s six golf courses.
Mohansic Golf Course in Yorktown Heights and Hudson Hills in Ossining can be accessed starting this Saturday because the two facilities are the most conducive to successfully practice social distancing, Latimer said.
“We believe these courses are the best controlled environment of the six that we have and we can make sure that the social distancing programs that we’re implementing, over and above the fact that a golf course is naturally distanced, will make it a safe place to be,” Latimer said.
The county courses had opened on time in mid-March but by Apr. 10 the Empire State Development Corporation, which determines which businesses and operations are essential, ordered golf courses closed. However, the county has determined that it can operate these two facilities safely.
The other four county courses, Maple Moor in White Plains, Saxon Woods in Scarsdale and Dunwoodie and Sprain Brook in Yonkers will remain closed.
Visitors must follow the guidelines established by the county. Golfers are asked to check in early for tee times; a minimal number of guests will be allowed in the pro shop at one time; there will be longer intervals between tee times; flagsticks must be left in the holes; bunkers must not be raked by golfers; rakes, ball washers and coolers have been removed from the courses; golfers must not gather in groups on the grounds; and the courses’ restaurants will remain closed.
While golfers will be able to enjoy outings, Playland will not make its scheduled May 9 opening and is unlikely to return before sometime in June at the earliest, Latimer said. The county beaches are virtually certain to remain closed into June as well.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week extended the stay-at-home order until May 15.
No decision has been made regarding the county pools, which typically open later in June, toward the end of the public school academic year.
Latimer said he’s holding out hope the facilities may open at some point this year but was unable to ensure that will happen.
“It’s almost impossible to envision how we would do social distancing effectively in an environment where a hot day comes, when we have literally thousands of people in a very confined area, Playland Beach (or) over on the Hudson River side,” he said.
Next month, the county is planning to hold its Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway and will monitor whether social distancing can be maintained, Latimer said. If not, the county would have to discontinue the popular weekly event that sees the closure of the parkway for about four hours.
Latimer Named to Task Force
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that Latimer will be part of the four-member Reimagine New York Task Force that will concentrate on how best to reopen and reinvigorate the downstate region at the appropriate time.
Latimer will be joined by New York City Mayor Bill Di Blasio, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
Cuomo said he wanted the task force to return with recommendations regarding potential improvements to public safety, the public health system, social equality, technology use and public transit.
Following the Sept. 11 attacks, lower Manhattan returned stronger than ever while portions of Long Island bounced back after Superstorm Sandy, Cuomo said.
“Let’s use this situation, this crisis, this time to actually learn the lessons, value from the reflection and let’s reimagine what we want society to be,” he said.
It wasn’t mentioned how long the task force would meet for and when the members may expect to return with recommendations.