BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Slowly but surely, a sense of normalcy is starting to return to Western New York, but with some caveats.
On Wednesday, Mayor Byron Brown announced the City of Buffalo plans to open Erie Basin Marina to boaters this week, as well as two of three golf courses in the city. Both will begin the season with a new set of rules aimed at limiting close encounters to slow the potential spread of COVID-19.
The Erie Basin Marina is set to open to boaters on Friday, May 1. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, is looking to open the Delaware and Cazenovia golf courses on Saturday, May 2.
According to details released by the city, South Park’s nine-hole course will not open because it's currently too wet.
According to the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the open golf courses will operate 7 days a week, 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Golfers are being told to follow new guidelines.
• Golf season passes and individual rounds are ONLY for sale online through the Conservancy’s website at www.bfloparks.org/golf
• All golf purchases and tee time reservations must be completed at least one full day in advance. No walk-on or day-of purchases allowed.
• No cash transactions, credit card exchanges or retail pro shop sales are allowed. • No motorized or pull-carts will be available for rental. Only walking or self-owned pull carts are allowed on the courses.
• Golfers must provide proof of purchase upon arrival via verbal reservation number, printed receipt, or season pass verification
Other requirements and safety protocols include:
• Tee times will be staggered to 14-minute intervals in alleviating course density
• Stay at least 6 feet away from other golfers
• No guests, caddies or non-golfers will be permitted on the course• Do not shake hands before or after your game
• Do not share clubs or any other equipment• Leave the flagstick in the hole; Inserts are in place to limit golf balls
• No rakes or ball washers will be on course; course benches will be wiped daily
• No pro shop, clubhouse or concessions access or sales at this time
• No portable toilets will be provided on any of the golf courses• Leagues and Tournaments are currently suspended
• Parking remains limited as Delaware and South Park Ring Roads are currently close
New Guidelines for Erie Basin Marina:
• Since the main docks at Erie Basin Marina have gated access, social distancing signs are being placed at each entrance.
• All gates will be kept locked with only access by slip-holders, staff, security and emergency personnel.
• Signs are in place notifying all slip-holders that there will be no loitering on the main docks or congregation on the docks; this will be enforced.
• The main docks are 12 feet wide, plenty of room for slip-holders to practice social distancing while going down to their boat and returning to the parking lot, however no dock-boxes can be placed on the main piers in order to maintain
the 12 feet wide clearance.
• All of the restrooms, including the boater’s bathrooms and showers, will be closed until further notice.
• In addition, the Observation tower at the North end of the Marina will be closed to the public.
• The ship’s store will remain closed until further notice.
• The fuel dock will be open, however, there will be a 1 boat limit on the dock at any time.
• All Erie Basin Employees and security staff have been provided, at no cost to them, protective face masks, gloves and personal hand sanitizing liquid.
• A security staff will patrol the common areas of the marina to enforce the social distancing regulation. If violations are found, the public will be asked to comply with the guidance and if they fail to do so, they will be reported to Buffalo
• The picnic tables and benches are being removed, and caution tape will be placed on any benches or seating areas that are not removable to prevent congregation.
• The public boat launch will have all the CDC social distancing and COVID-19 signage appropriate for public recreational areas.
• The public launch ramp will be monitored and patrolled by the hourly security and staff patrol.
• Transient dock requests are, for the most part, handled by email or telephone. The transient boaters will be instructed as to the current DRP in place. They will not have to check in at the fuel dock, but rather be directed to proceed
directly to their slip. A staff member will meet the boat there, while wearing the appropriate PPE to give the boater the card keys and get the credit card information for the rental payment. We will be giving all transient boaters a hand- out which will detail the DRP that is currently in place. • All slip-holders will receive the DRP via email and regular U.S. Mail so they are all aware of the protocols in place for their protection and the protection of others.
• Any violators of the DRP will be warned consistent with our established violation protocol.• Pump-outs to boaters will be offered at no charge until further notice.
“This is the new normal,” said Mayor Brown. “Buffalo offers an abundance of great outdoor activity for everyone, from well-maintained golf courses to scenic waterways that highlight our City’s natural beauty. Our new normal continues to provide our people with a safe and enjoyable environment. Our goal is to ‘build back better’ after COVID-19 and that means assisting both boaters and golfers in developing safe habits on the water and on the golf course.”