BANGOR, Maine — During a normal sunny weekend afternoon in April, Rob Jarvis is working in the pro shop or giving lessons at Bangor Municipal Golf Course. But these past few weeks have been nothing but normal because of coronavirus, COVID-19.
Now, the Head Professional spends his days painting doors or doing anything he can to help around the clubhouse.
“I’ve kind of been a full-time handyman in the past two weeks," Jarvis added.
As the coronavirus spreads in Maine, golf, like every other industry, is affected. Courses have been deemed non-essential by Governor Mill's stay-at-home order and will remain closed until at least April 30.
Instead of courses preparing for the spring season, they are now on standby. But standing by and waiting is something Christian McCrory doesn't want to do. The avid golfer created a petition to urge Mills to make golf an essential business.
“(Golf is) a great way to get out, get on the course, and take their mind off life for a few hours at a time," McCrory said.
Social Distancing Video
His virtual petition has received more than 7300 signatures which he says is roughly 25% of Maine's golf community.
“We’re just hoping we can find some middle ground and where we can get this healthy activity back to the golf community in the state of Maine," McCrory added.
The petition also includes ways courses and players can adhere to social distancing guideless and remain safe while playing.
They include removing pins, or cups that require players to use their hands to get their balls, removing rakes for sand traps, ball washers, and water coolers.
The petition also states that golf courses can make walking mandatory, no carts, and set players off 12-minutes apart to stay safely away from each other.
A handful of courses in southern Maine were open briefly before golf was listed as a non-essential business. In Bangor, Jarvis says his course is rarely ready by this time of year but will be ready in a few weeks.
“May 1st, that’s when we’d really like to play, I think it’s doable by then," Jarvis added.
He said revenue will begin to be lost if courses remain closed through mid-May. Jarvis also added that golf will look different for a long time as courses make sure they adhere to precautionary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“We need to be very careful and follow the science on this one," Jarvis said.
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus