PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington State Governor Jay Inslee is lifting some restrictions from the state’s stay-at-home-order starting May 5.
He announced Monday that he will be allowing hunting, fishing and golfing. He is allowing day use of state parks, day use of state lands and day use of fish and wildlife areas.
“This is not a return to normal today. The virus is too rampant to allow that. This is only the beginning of a phase to allow outdoor recreation,” he said.
Public gatherings, sporting events and camping are still banned. Being at a park with a group of friends who you don’t live with is still a violation, he said.
Good etiquette is to step off the trail to give six feet, he said.
As for golfers who miss life on the links, tee-time is just around the corner, however, it will look different from what it was before the pandemic.
“Online or credit card-only tee-times so you’re not congregating in the golf shop,” said Troy Andrew with the Washington Golf Alliance, who spoke with KOIN 6 News following Inslee’s press conference. “Only going to be single cart riders allowed.”
The bunker rakes will be removed from courses, as will benches and water coolers — any common things that people frequently touch.
Andrew said golf season in the Pacific Northwest typically starts in early March, and as a result of the shutdown, courses have taken a big financial hit.
“Courses had to lay people off or put them on furlough,” said Andrew. “It’s been a huge adjustment for golf courses to have to sit back and just watch during this beautiful weather — the grass turn green and the perfect weather and perfect weather to go play golf and we can’t get out there.”
Public Lands Commissioner Hillary Franz and the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind and Parks’ Director Don Hoch were also at the press conference for the announcement.
Dozens of boats with fishermen filled Seattle’s Lake Union on Sunday protesting the continuation of the state’s lockdown. They demanded for Inslee to lift the ban on fishing stating that they already paid annual fees to fish. And moreover, the nature of the sport already promotes and encourages social distancing.
On April 18, hundreds conducted a similar protest in Richland, Wash.
As it stands now, Washington’s Fish and Wildlife said the ban will remain in effect until at least May 4.
Monday’s presser comes on the heels of the announcement by the Western States Pact that both Colorado and Nevada would be joining the joint effort to reopen states’ economies. Earlier this month, Inslee, along with Oregon Governor Kate Brown and California Governor Gavin Newsom announced they would be working together under a shared vision for gradually modifying their state’s stay at home orders and fighting COVID-19.
“I’m honored to have the state of Nevada join the Western States Pact.” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak in a statement Monday. “[I] believe the sharing of critical information and best practices on how to mitigate the spread, protect the health and safety of our residents, and reopen responsibly will be invaluable as we chart our paths forward.”
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