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Port district: Banks Lake Golf Course closing was not optional

Everybody is anxious to get back to their normal lives, but with spring budding out all over, local golfers are really champing at their putters.

Jim Keene, president of board of commissioners for Grant County Port District 7, which owns Banks Lake Golf Course, said Monday he sees some confusion among local golfers, some of whom believe the decision to shut down the course in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s general shutdown proclamation was optional.

It was not, Keene said.

He cites Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” March 23 proclamation closing all but essential businesses and subsequent guidance issued by the governor’s office that states, “Golf is not essential.”

It’s also not exactly crowded, locally, a fact that likely leads some to question whether the sport necessarily causes violations of the social distancing guidance for reducing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, the disease that has killed tens of thousands of Americans.

It could, however, encourage travel to this area, the lone part of Grant County with no confirmed cases of the illness.

But local golfers aren’t alone in their desire to hit the links.

The Golf Alliance of Washington wrote to Inslee for clarification March 26, resulting in a confirmation that “neither the operation nor enjoyment of a golf course qualifies as an essential business or activity.” Although “minimum basic operations” are allowed for keeping the course up to par.

The organization wrote the governor’s office again Friday to encourage opening up the sport on May 5, the day after Inslee’s current shutdown proclamation is set to expire.

Keene said as long as the statewide order is in effect, the local golf course must remain closed to the public.

“If there are any golf courses that are open,” Keene said, “they are open in violation of the governor’s order.”


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