Golf, fishing, boating, hunting and day use of state parks can be resumed May 5, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday in an easing of his stay-home proclamation.
As the covid-19 fight continues to make some progress, Washington’s stay-at-home order will permit a window to open May 5.
Gov. Jay Inlsee Monday announced that that golf, fishing and hunting can resume, along with day use of all state parks, fish and wildlife areas, and lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources.
“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 in a press conference in Olympia. “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.”
A week is needed to get facilities ready and employees back to work, as well as time to complete any maintenance.
The Golf Alliance of Washington, the industry’s lobbying organization that pressed Inslee hard in an April 10 letter for an early lifting of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation, got its wish.
“In these unprecedented times, with the COVID-19 threat affecting all aspects of life as we know it, golf is available as an outlet for people to exercise and provides one of the few respites from the confines of home,” the alliance said in a media release Monday. “With vast areas of open space containing green grass, ponds and trees, a golf course provides the ability for social distancing in a stress-free environment. Furthermore, by golf facilities being open, it will provide economic activity and employment for those in the golf industry.”
Boaters and fishers, some of whom gathered on Lake Union Sunday to protest the continued restrictions, also pressed for their outdoor recreations, seen as far less likely to spread disease as long as social distancing continues to be observed.
Inslee said people going boating together should live in the same household. Hikers passing each other on trails should allow for a six-foot gap. Golfers must play in twosomes, not foursomes, unless all four golfers live in the same household.
He warned that if the slow-roll re-start is abused, he will order a rollback.
“If we see a sharp uptick of people being affected, we will have to modify activities again,” said Inslee. “Any other outdoor-restriction relaxing depends on the data and compliance rate.
“This is not a return to normal today. The virus is too rampant to do that. Data, not dates, determine how we act.”