BY Art Thiel 06:24PM 04/27/2020

Partial cure for cabin fever: Golf, fishing return

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.

No. 12 tee at West Seattle Golf Club.

A glimmer.

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.”

State park guidelines are linked here.

Golf course guidelines are linked here.


  • jafabian

    Seems to me outdoor recreation is a lot safer for people than going to a packed stadium right now. In fact I’d think many of the pro sports leagues would play in front of a limited capacity crowd if not just having no fans. Tiger Woods would probably be in favor of that.

    • art thiel

      The oudoor-rec crowd had a good argument about relative safety of activity. It’s their support crowd that was under threat. If a hiker/climber/boater gets hurt, who should leave their first-responder position to go help them in a public health crisis? What hospital should devote time to treat their injuries?

      • rosetta_stoned

        What hospital should devote time to treat their injuries?

        I don’t know. Maybe the ones with all the empty beds and furloughed staff?

        • Archangelo Spumoni

          I think I get your point.
          A few hospitals have fewer patients due to elective surgeries have been postponed.
          So we need folks to hurry up and get sick and fill those beds.
          And our first responders are idly twiddling their thumbs, hoping to have some folks to rescue and simultaneously be exposed to their virus load.
          Got it.

          • B. Hope


  • Ken S.

    I’ve been golfing all through March and April. It’s going to be 71 here today, time to hit the links. This coronaviris has turned out to be not much of a threat, but it just shows you how eager politicians are to flex their police state muscles. Few of them hesitated to do just that. I wonder what it’ll be next time…

    • Jonathan M Perez

      Not much of a threat? 56,000+ US Citizens dead from COVID-19 as of today and almost 800 in Washington state alone. But hey, enjoy your precious golf guilt free.

      • Ken S.

        A nephew of mine died from cancer in March, the cause of death on the certificate of death? Coronavirus! This happened in Wenatchee. Question everything. Especially numbers from our loving government!

    • art thiel

      Ken, if you can’t see what’s in front of you, I’d stay off the golf course. You’re a one-man mobile hazard.

      • Ken S.

        There are none so blind as those who will not see.

        • Tian Biao

          that comment is meaningless.

          • Ken S.

            I am truly sorry that you are so hard a thinkin’.

      • Husky73

        I’m heading out to Bear Creek, but before I do, I’m injecting myself with Lysol while staring into a UV flashlight. And, just to be sure, I’ll be slipping a little Windex into my Gatorade to keep me hydrated during the round. Fore!

  • coug73

    Some of my friends will go golfing, fewer will fish, and fewer still will stay home and sip on a bottle of green label. To all stay save and smart.

  • Matt Kite

    Looking forward to hiking. I miss the trails.