MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Public and private golf courses in Martin County will remain open, but only to county residents and existing members, commissioners said on Thursday.
At a special meeting, golf course representatives urged county leaders to allow the courses to continue operating in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The representatives said their courses have made a lot of changes like shutting down food and beverage operations, getting rid of rakes, only allowing one person per golf cart, and limiting guests.
Ultimately, commissioners said public and private courses can remain open, but only to Martin County residents and existing members.
The goal is to prevent residents from other counties where golf courses are closed, like Palm Beach County, from driving north and saturating Martin County courses.
County leaders said they'll work with the Martin County Sheriff's Office to make sure golf courses are following social distancing guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The courses themselves will have to implement their own ways of checking that golfers are Martin County residents.
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 109 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Martin County.
The first coronavirus-related death in the county, a 77-year-old man, was reported Wednesday evening.
Currently, all county-owned beaches are closed until further notice. Parks are open, but public playgrounds, athletic fields, and basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts are closed.
Earlier this week, Martin County commissioners voted to reopen boat ramps to the public on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The ramps are closed on weekends.
At Thursday's meeting, Cleveland Clinic Martin Health said it's tested around 300 people at drive-through testing locations at Cleveland Clinic Martin North Hospital in Stuart and Cleveland Clinic Tradition Hospital in Port St. Lucie.
The tests are by appointment only.
To make an appointment, call 772-419-3360. A health care worker will screen you over the phone and ask about your symptoms, whether you've traveled recently, and if you've come in contact with anyone who's tested positive for COVID-19.
If you meet the criteria, you'll be given an appointment time.
Health officials said Thursday that tests are much more efficient now, and almost 90 percent of test results have come back.