Boating is Back in Washington

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee yesterday announced a partial reopening of outdoor activities would be rolled out May 5, including hunting, fishing, boating and golf.

In addition, areas managed by Washington’s Department of Natural Resources will reopen for use during daylight hours.

“Outdoor recreation is one of the best things we can do to promote physical, mental and emotional well-being for Washingtonians during a time of great stress and isolation,” Inslee said on his Medium page. “Springtime in our state is Washington at its best, and people want to be out enjoying outdoor activities in a safe and responsible way.”

Employees at parks, public lands, golf courses, fishing operations and others have been authorized to return to work this week to prepare for reopening.

Strict social distancing requirements will remain in place. Gatherings are still not permitted, and according to the requirements in the governor’s proclamation, only members of the same household may travel and recreate together in cars and boats.

“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.”

At yesterday’s announcement, the governor was joined by Department of Natural Resources commissioner Hilary Franz, Department of Fish and Wildlife director Kelly Susewind, and State Parks and Recreation Commission director Don Hoch.

“We’re happy to once again provide outdoor opportunities to the people of Washington who have been following the governor’s order to stay home and save lives,” Hoch said in a statement.

Susewind reminded residents to apply what they’ve learned while social distancing to stay safe and healthy, and to keep recreation areas open.

“I’m asking people to take what they’ve learned these past few weeks and continue putting these measures into play as you fish, hunt and enjoy your local wildlife area,” Susewind said. “We’re happy to reopen these opportunities, and we need you to continue working with us to stay safe.”

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