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Onondaga County reports 19th death; private golf courses to reopen

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)

Updated April, 19 at 3:30 p.m.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon Sunday reported the county's 19th death from COVID-19. He said a woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions died. 

McMahon said there are now 637 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county, 257 of them are active cases. 42 people are currently hospitalized, 19 in critical condition. 

The state is now under an order to wear masks or other face-covering in any public place where proper social distancing is not possible. Wegmans and Tops markets have said that all customers must be wearing a mask to enter a store. McMahon said all county residents should adhere to the order. 

A voluntary shelter-in-place order is still in effect around much of central New York, but for golfers, there's reason to celebrate. Updated guidance from the state now allows golfers at private clubs to play on the course, as long as there are no gatherings and players must stay at least six feet from each other. Course facilities, along with clubhouses, must remain closed, and no employees may work at the courses. 

McMahon closed all golf clubs in the county on April 5, but said Saturday that the state's order trumps his. 

"The governor came to the same point we were at, they injected themselves in this policy. We're going to let them take the guidance from here," McMahon said. 

Guidance from NYS Empire State Development on golf courses:

Golf courses are not essential and cannot have employees working on-premise; notwithstanding this restriction, essential services, such as groundskeeping to avoid hazardous conditions and security, provided by employees, contractors, or vendors are permitted and private operators may permit individuals access to the property so long as there are no gatherings of any kind and appropriate social distancing of six feet between individuals is strictly abided.