Cara Cullen told the Daily Caller that she plans to reopen her two family-owned golf courses this week despite strict shutdown orders from Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
“If we have to wait until June to open, we’re done,” Cullen said.
“I owe it to my family, my employees and my customers,” she added of her decision to reopen earlier.
Her family has owned Wachusett Country Club since 1939 and Kettle Brook Golf Club since 2008. Now, they could be on the verge of losing both if they are not allowed to reopen.
Baker recently extended the state’s stay at home order until May 18, which could be a death sentence for seasonal businesses like Cullen’s. Baker also created an advisory board to reopen the economy, which Cullen dismissed as a “delay tactic” meant to “to appease us, to shut us up.”(RELATED: FLASHBACK: Jan.21: Fauci Says Coronavirus ‘Not A Major Threat’ To U.S.)
Cullen told the Daily Caller that her business is enacting strict measures to ensure the safety of its employees and customers. Cullen plans to just reopen the golf courses while keeping the dining areas at the clubs closed. She will require golfers to schedule a tee time in advance and will mandate that customers stay in their cars until 10 minutes before it’s time to tee off. She will also mandate single-person golf carts, and other social distancing measures consistent with the advice of medical professionals.
“If I thought for one moment golf was not safe, I’d take the economic hit in a heartbeat,” Cullen said.
Studies have shown that outdoor transmission of the coronavirus is incredibly rare, and that the virus can’t survive in the sunlight for a significant period of time. Researchers who studied 318 outbreaks in China found just two total cases of outdoor transmission. With available data on her side, Cullen argues that golf is a safe, stress-relieving activity in these tumultuous times.
“People need outlets, and golf is a proven outlet for stress and mental and physical health,” she said.
Cullen lost her mother-in-law to the virus in late March and told the Daily Caller that she was one of the first reported casualties of the virus in central Massachusetts. While coping with the tragic loss of her mother-in-law, Cullen is fighting state authorities to save her family’s business.
“My children never got to see their grandmother again and haven’t been able to grieve,” Cullen told the Daily Caller.
Cullen has retained an attorney and plans to contest any fines or cease and desist orders she receives. Cullen said she was told that she could face fines of up to $300 a day, but feels she has no other choice but to reopen anyway.
“We have no other options,” Cullen said. “We’re gonna be closed in a few weeks anyway.”