Boating & Outdoor Recreation During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is sure to have a lasting impact on the way we all move through the world. During the summer of 2020, the LMCD team helped relay the State Governor’s recommendations regarding safe social distancing guidelines and clarifications as they pertain to living, working and recreating on Lake Minnetonka. While the social distancing and mask requirements have been relaxed, please remember some tips to keep yourself and others healthy while recreating at the lake. Please check with the State for current status of activities.
Historical Perspective of Social Distancing While Boating
The following were some minimum actions that were recommended while boating to meet social distancing guidelines when they were in effect.
- Stay home if you are sick or exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (including fever, cough, or difficulty breathing). Follow self-quarantine guidelines and time frames.
- Be prepared and limit interactions with other people while boating as much as possible.
- Boating is encouraged with members of your household. If you boat with people not in your household, maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance. Capacity will vary depending on size of the vessel.
- Use a lake closest to home and go right from your house to your boat and back to avoid any unnecessary contact with others.
- Practice social distancing guidelines at launches and public spaces.
- Wash your hands or use a recommended hand sanitizer any time you come into contact with shared surfaces.
- Don’t tether watercraft or raft up; keep recreational boats apart as much as possible to avoid mass gatherings.
- Leave no trace principles, pack-in and pack-out to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy. Do not leave potentially contaminated items lying around.
With the expanded allowable activities announced on April 17, 2020 and additional recreation facilities opening since then, many Minnesotans are excited to spend time outdoors. Review the MN DNR’s outdoor recreation guidelines to keep you and your family safe.
Businesses & Employers
Outdoor recreation facilities can ensure they are doing everything possible to keep visitors and employees safe by reviewing and implementing recommended measures described in the following guides:
Highlighted Governor’s Orders
Executive Order 20-74. On June 5, 2020, Governor Tim Walz announced Phase III of the Stay Safe MN plan, to allow cautious re-opening of indoor dining, gyms, and entertainment venues beginning June 10, 2020 and other guidance.
Executive Order 20-70. On June 2, 2020, Governor Walz’s Order allowed bars and restaurants to expand outdoor dining where normally restricted under certain circumstances.
Executive Order 20-63. On May 27, 2020, Phase II of the Stay Safe MN Plan provided certain allowances for outdoor dining at restaurants and bars, salons and barbershops, charter and launch boats starting June 1, 2020.
Executive Order 20-56. On May 13, 2020, the peacetime emergency was extended through June 12, 2020. Additional outdoor recreation facilities allowed to open per MN DNR Outdoor Recreation Guidelines and COVID-19 Preparedness Plan including marinas, bait and tackle shops, lake service providers, launches, trails, outdoor recreational equipment rental, etc.
Executive Order 20-48. On April 30, 2020, the Stay At Home Order was extended through May 17, 2020.
Executive Order 20-38. On April 17, 2020, allowable outdoor recreation was expanded to include activities such as boating, fishing, hunting, hiking, and golf using social distancing guidelines. Facilities that may open or remain open include: bait shops for live bait, outdoor shooting ranges, parks and trails, golf courses and driving ranges, boating and off highway vehicles services including marina services, dock installation and other lake services, boat and off highway vehicle sales and repair by appointment only. View the updated Critical Sector Descriptions.
Executive Order 20-35. On April 13, 2020, the peacetime emergency was extended through May 13, 2020. Further clarifications to the Critical Sector Descriptions were provided to include marinas, dock installers, and boat delivery. See the Critical Sector Descriptions for more details about the type of allowances.
Executive Order 20-33. On April 8, 2020 Governor Walz extended the Stay at Home order until May 4, 2020. Governor Walz also provided updated Critical Sector Descriptions.
Executive Order 20-20. On March 25, 2020, a Stay at Home order was issued to limit Minnesotans’ movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs. The order is effective at 11:59pm on Friday, March 27 and ends at 5:00pm on Friday, April 10.