Utica, NY - About a month after Empire State Development deemed golf courses as non-essential businesses and said that they should be closed amid the coronavirus crisis, On Friday, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri announced the re-opening of Valley View Golf Course, is welcoming in the public again but on a limited basis.
“We could only take payments on the phone, the clubhouse is locked,” says Michael Cerminaro, manager of Valley View Golf Course. “The golfers coming up have been extraordinary. They've been very gracious, they are following the distance, 6 foot at least that the mayor and the governor obviously has laid down in the COVID-19 rules.”
Valley View is the only municipal golf course to reopen in the area. In accordance with New York state regulations, no golf carts can be rented. All golfers must walk the course, which can be a difficult task for older golfers.
“To be honest with you, we're seeing a lot of younger clientele come out golfing. Some of the older folks, you know our heart goes out to them because they have to use (golf) carts so they're kind of chomping at the bit, but they are respectful of the fact that the mayor and the governor cares about their safety. We're doing it right and we're doing it safely,” adds Cerminaro.
He says that golfing is a great way to relax and engage with others after being indoors for so long to get the body moving.
“Its great exercise and it even has a little more enjoyment that you're out there walking and breathing fresh air and you can maintain your distance and enjoying it.”
Valley View had to cut the majority of their staff due to the coronavirus pandemic. He hopes that as business picks up, they can add more staff.
But the key to re-opening any business amid the coronavirus crisis is ensuring the safety of the customers. Cerminaro is grateful to the mayor and Governor Cuomo in the steps they are taking towards re-opening businesses.
“I must say Mayor Palmieri has been doing just a phenomenal job just managing the city and he realizes that the city of Utica people want things to open up but to open up safely. They are not rushing, they’re doing it safely and abiding by the rules.”