On April 27, Governor Jay Inslee announced that some recreation restrictions would be lifted on May 5. The closure of recreation activities were necessary to reduce travel to slow the spread of the virus and save lives, Inslee said.
The restrictions being lifted are in regards to golfing, fishing, hunting and day use at some state parks and state public land. This does not include public gatherings, events, team sports and camping. Some local governments or national agencies may still choose to continue their park, land and trail closures based on local public health needs.
“The people of Washington have made great sacrifices as we fight the spread of COVID-19. One such sacrifice, felt profoundly by those who treasure the outdoors, was the closure of state parks and recreation areas,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who leads the Department of Natural Resources.
The outdoor activities include guidelines and restrictions:
● Anyone exhibiting any cold or flu-like symptoms shall not participate in outdoor recreation activities.
● 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.
● People must recreate locally: Do not travel farther than necessary and do not stay overnight to recreate.
● Limit your recreation partners to only those who live within your household unit.
● Practice social distancing at trailheads, boat launches, and all areas where you encounter others.
● Utilize facial coverings in any situation where social distancing is not possible.
● Bring your own food and supplies when possible. This will help protect others in your community.
● 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.
“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. "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.”
If there is a spike in COVID-19 cases following the lifting of the restrictions on recreation activities or it is apparent that people are not following guidelines, the restrictions may be put back in place, Inslee said.