IT SOUNDED ominous last Thursday afternoon, December 31 when the siren blew at the Leongatha Golf Club at around 12.15pm, calling all players immediately from the course.

A long, continuous burst on the siren is usually associated with imminent lightning strikes, but apart from a light ESE breeze, conditions were ideal for golf.

It soon became apparent that the club had received notice from the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit that the course be closed immediately due to reports that a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case had played at the course on the morning of Sunday, December 27.

General Manager of the Leongatha Golf Club, Justin Speirani, has since confirmed that at no stage has a positive COVID-19 case entered the course.

“There was some confusion about that. It was only ever a ‘close contact’ of a coronavirus case, not a positive case,” said Justin this week.

“It was precautionary and at no stage was anyone at risk.

“To our knowledge they have since tested negative.”

But he said the response from the members, players and staff at the golf club was exemplary.

“We received the advice at about 12.15pm and we pretty much had the course cleared 20 minutes later.

“We cleared the course and seven of us conducted a deep clean of the clubhouse and all the gold course furniture.

“On Friday, January 1 at 2.27pm we got the all clear to reopen again from 6am Saturday and we got a message straight out to the 600 members on our database and we also reached more than 2000 people on Facebook.

“We got an official letter from Gippsland Health thanking us for our cooperation and confirming that we had taken all the required steps,” Mr Speirani said.

It is understood that a close contact of the person who worked at the Coral Fish and Chip shop in Leongatha played at the course twice in the past week but is believed to have since tested negative to the virus.

“We’d like to thank all our members and staff for their assistance and attitude to the suspension of operations but I think everyone is very understanding and supportive about what needs to be done,” Mr Speirani said.

Everything was back in full swing again on Saturday.