Although Maryland may not begin the first stage of the state’s recovery plan until at least next week, Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday announced that residents would be allowed to resume certain “lower risk” outdoor activities at state parks and other places.
“Mother’s Day weekend is coming up and I know how anxious people are to get outside for their physical and their mental well-being. And we also know that outside activity is safer than inside activity,” Hogan said on Wednesday, adding that the state’s health experts agreed that Marylanders could safely participate in some outdoor activities under certain restrictions.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on Wednesday provided guidance for participating in those activities, such as fishing, boating, camping and visiting beaches.
For all outdoor activities that are now permitted, only immediate family members or people who live together may participate, groups may not be larger than 10 people, and people should continue to practice social distancing.
Residents may use state beaches for walking, jogging, swimming and fishing, but they may not hold social gatherings and they cannot bring chairs, blankets and picnics.
Boats are not allowed to have more than 10 people aboard at one time, including the captain and crew members. Boats must also remain at least 10 feet apart, cannot race, and may not dock at restaurants or bars.
People should wear masks and gloves while fueling or pumping out their boat, state officials said.
When fishing, participants must abide by normal fishing rules and regulations, including the maximum number of fish they are allowed to catch per day and restrictions related to gear and seasons.
People can hunt on private and public lands, but must abide by normal hunting rules and regulations, including the number of animals they are allowed to hunt and restrictions on firearms and seasons.
DNR will reopen shooting ranges on state land.
Campers can reserve a space for overnight tent and RV camping in state forests, parks and other campgrounds by contacting DNR, but groups can be no larger than 10 people at one site.
Equestrians may not hold or participate in organized rides, gatherings or races.
People can ride off-road vehicles on DNR-owned lands where they are allowed, but gatherings and organized events are prohibited.
DNR-owned swimming pools are still closed.
Golfing and tennis will also be allowed under this new order, Hogan said Wednesday.
Golf courses should limit staff to management and essential golf and maintenance crew. Staff and patrons should use face coverings when interacting with one another, state officials said.
Practice facilities may be open, but areas where people frequently congregate like clubhouses and locker rooms must remain closed. Golf leagues, clinics, camps and organized activities must also remain suspended.
Staff should frequently clean golf facilities, carts, and “high touch” surfaces. Players must take away their own trash and cannot dispose of it on site.
Only one golfer may ride in a cart at a time, unless a golfer and a playing partner are from the same family, in which case two can ride. Groups of up to four may walk together.
Local governments will have the discretion to allow residents to participate in these activities and open up their own parks, golf courses and tennis courts, Hogan said Wednesday.