Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a partial re-opening of some outdoor recreation activities beginning May 5, 2020.
“When I rolled out, ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ over a month ago, difficult decisions were made to close state parks and public lands, golf facilities, and delaying hunting and fishing seasons. This was necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, reduce travel and ultimately, save lives,” Inslee said.
“Outdoor recreation is one of the best things we can promote physical, mental and emotional well-being for Washingtonians during a time of great stress and isolation. And springtime in our state is Washington at its best and people want to be out enjoying outdoor activities in a safe and responsible way.”
As of Tuesday, May 5, some outdoor recreation will be allowed with appropriate safety precautions including: fishing; hunting; playing golf; day use at state parks, state public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources and at state Fish and Wildlife areas.
The governor stressed that all of these activities must be done with appropriate social distancing and the safety and security of participants and the people who work in outdoor recreation.
“If we see a sharp uptake in the number of people who are getting sick or are not following appropriate steps, then we won’t hesitate to scale this back again,” Inslee said. “This is not a return to normal. This is only a beginning phase of relaxing outdoor recreation restrictions.”
Public gatherings, events, team sports, and camping, among other things, are not resuming at this time.
Notably, the actions the state is taking in no way prevent the closure actions of local governments or national agencies, who may choose to continue their park, land and trail closures based on local public health needs.
Inslee was joined at the announcement by:
- Commissioner Hilary Franz, commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources
- Kelly Susewind, director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Don Hoch, director of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
The outdoor activities include guidelines and restrictions.
1) Anyone exhibiting any cold or flu-like symptoms shall not participate in outdoor recreation activities.
2) Any state parks, state public lands, hunting and fishing seasons, golf facilities, trails, and other public parks, public lands and trails may be closed at any time if there is reason to believe unsafe conditions exist or social distancing practices are not being adhered to.
3) People must recreate locally: Do not travel farther than necessary and do not stay overnight to recreate.
4) Limit your recreation partners to only those who live within your household unit.
5) Practice social distancing at trailheads, boat launches, and all areas where you encounter others.
6) Utilize facial coverings in any situation where social distancing is not possible.
7) Bring your own food and supplies when possible. This will help protect others in your community.
8) The Golf Alliance of Washington has been working to provide appropriate social distancing and limits on activities. These include spacing out tee times, limits on size of parties, walking-only (unless someone needs to be in the cart for mobility reasons), no on-site beverage or food service (take-away only, just as with other food service) and more.
“Today’s announcement is another great example of industries coming together to help ensure that activity that is important to Washingtonians can continue in a safe and healthy way during this pandemic,” Inslee said. “I’m confident that Washingtonians who love outdoors as much as I do will do the right thing and recreate in a healthy and safe way.”
The governor signed proclamation 20–25.2 along with the announcement.