A protester on a boat on Lake Union near Gas Works Park in Seattle on Sunday, during a protest against Washington’s ban on fishing due to stay-at-home orders implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A protester on a boat on Lake Union near Gas Works Park in Seattle on Sunday, during a protest against Washington’s ban on fishing due to stay-at-home orders implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Inslee to loosen restrictions on outdoor recreation on May 5

Boat ramps, trailheads and golf courses can reopen — with social-distancing measures in place.

OLYMPIA — Starting next week, Washingtonians will be able to hike, fish, hunt and golf, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday.

With social-distancing measures in place, boat ramps, trailheads and golf courses and other public lands can open May 5, in addition to seasonal hunting and fishing seasons. The decision gives residents outdoor recreation opportunities that have been unavailable since Inslee enacted his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order in March.

Residents are asked not to boat, hike, fish, hunt or golf with anyone they don’t live with and to continue practicing social distancing. If the state sees an uptick in coronavirus cases, restrictions and closures could be reinstated, Inslee said.

“This is not a return to normal today,” Inslee said. “The virus is too rampant to allow that.”

Inslee’s order ends May 4, but social-distancing measures will “certainly extend beyond that date,” he said.

“Data, not dates, determine how we act,” he said. “We have a plan for reopening our state, but it depends on how the data comes in.”

While state parks are opening their gates for hiking, camping is still prohibited. Additionally, some state-owned lands might not open right away. A list of parks remaining closed will be available at the end of the week, parks officials said.

If you plan on visiting one, check www.parks.wa.gov before you go.

As of Monday, Snohomish County health officials had logged 2,356 confirmed infections since the outbreak began in January, with 107 deaths. Statewide, as of Sunday, there had been 13,521 cases and 749 deaths.

Inslee’s announcement comes three days after the governor laid out a plan to resume some construction that was under way when he first issued his stay-home order.

To continue easing social-distancing measures, statistics like infection rates and hospitalizations must continue to fall, the governor said, and the state needs to see increased testing capacity and robust contact-tracing.

Washington is making progress on forming a “small army” of 1,500 contact tracers by May 11, Inslee said.

“But the models still give us great pause and not enough confidence to throw open the gates,” he said.

Some conservative state lawmakers have criticized Inslee’s order as unconstitutional.

State law gives the governor wide authority under declared emergencies, which includes prohibiting people from “gathering on the public streets, parks, or other open areas of this state, either public or private” and any “activities as he or she reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace.”

State Sen. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls, contends Inslee’s emergency powers do not extend to barring a person from getting into a boat and going fishing, alone or not.

“These are very uncharted waters, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “I’m very happy that he’s moving in the right direction. But sorry, governor, you never did have the authority to tell us we could or could not go fishing.”

At a rally in Olympia, Sutherland declared May 1 to be the day when fishing should return. That was an arbitrary date, he said Monday, adding that he was not planning any events to protest whatever timeline the governor might be announcing.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

Talk to us

More in Local News

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
‘White saviorhood’: Mukilteo schools end ‘Mockingbird’ requirement

The book is not banned in the school district. The last book brought before the school board was by Maya Angelou.

Jesse Spitzer (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)
Wanted man fled from Gold Bar to Idaho, police say

Jesse Spitzer, 30, who has a history of violence against officers, is wanted for felonies in two states.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Guv will testify; a dinosaur is revived; GOP is resurgent

Here’s what’s happening on Day 17 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

Police looking for Mukilteo bank robber, seeking tips

The man appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s, white, slender, about 5-foot-8, with dark blond hair.

Police: Marysville Pilchuck student arrested for wielding knife

Neither of the students involved in the Wednesday morning fight was injured, police reported.

Registered nurse Estella Wilmarth tends to a patient in the acute care unit of Harborview Medical Center, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, in Seattle. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is deploying 100 members of the state National Guard to hospitals across the state amid staff shortages due to an omicron-fueled spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Inslee announced Thursday that teams will be deployed to assist four overcrowded emergency departments at hospitals in Everett, Yakima, Wenatchee and Spokane, and that testing teams will be based at hospitals in Olympia, Richland, Seattle and Tacoma. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Past the omicron peak? Snohomish County’s COVID cases declining

Hospitalizations are still a concern, however, and infections in Eastern Washington and Idaho could have ripple effects here.

A map of city council districts and districting commission nominees put forth by the Everett City Council and mayor. (City of Everett)
Everett council, mayor pick districting commission nominees

Only one returns from the previous commission, while another is a former city council member.

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company's new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Despite Arizona move, Everett leaders expect Funko HQ to stay

The toymaker is closing Everett warehouses. But a recent “HQ2” expansion has the city confident Funko will remain rooted here.

Lynnwood Public Works employees on the snow plow crew sit in front of one of the city's two plows that will be named based on results of an online public vote. (City of Lynnwood)
Lynnwood snow plow names: Snowbi Wan Kenobi, Plowy McPlowface

They got the two highest votes in an online public survey by Lynnwood Public Works.

Most Read