Our Opinion: Fishing… but not golf?

There seems to be a disconnect with Governor Wolf and what is an essential and non-essential business. Blueberry Golf Course is suing the state to be allowed to run its business.

The state claims entities suing the governor “plainly lack rudimentary understanding of this pandemic.”

The businesses “urge this Court to make Pennsylvania the first and only state in the country in which the effort to combat COVID-19 and protect the lives of its citizens must yield to the short-term commercial and personal interests of a few.”

Yet, trout season opened early on Tuesday.

Yes, fishing and golf are different. But in this case, they’re very similar. Most people fish with friends. Most people golf with friends. You’re going to a location where there could be other people fishing or golfing.

If you practice safe social distancing, it’s okay to fish.

But not golf?

“The health and survival of Pennsylvanians is the most compelling of government interests. And the classifications and distinctions made to protect the citizenry were absolutely essential — let alone reasonably related — to achieving that most compelling of interests.”

We’d like to abridge this statement: The health and survival of Pennsylvanians is the most compelling of government interests…

Unless it affects government funds — like fishing licenses or, say, lottery tickets.

We don’t necessarily agree or disagree with Blueberry’s stance in this matter. But what we see here is hypocrisy.

If the government’s budget is affected, then it is essential to stay open, but small business owners can’t be trusted to do the right thing? Nor can their patrons be trusted to practice social distancing?

This isn’t about fishing at all. We love fishing. We think those fishing can be responsible enough to be outside and practice social distancing safely. Much like jogging outside, hiking outside, or walking your dog outside. Those types of outdoor activities are allowed under the governor’s stay-at-home order, and should be… as long as you practice social distancing, and stay six feet away from one another.

A gentleman fishing in Conewango Township on Tuesday suggested if his buddy was within six feet of him, he may hook him while casting.

I’m not sure if I’d rather have that happen or get clocked on a backswing at Blueberry. Neither sounds appealing enough to get within six feet.

Golf is allowed in New York – just a short trip – and in other states. But not Pennsylvania.

We understand the difficult stance Gov. Wolf is taking in an effort to stop the spread of this deadly virus.

But there are glaring similarities between golf and fishing.

We are disagreeing with the absolute tone-deaf decision to open one early but keep the other closed.

It’s not okay for an individual to worry about their financial well-being during the pandemic, but it is okay for the state?


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