Easing coronavirus restrictions: some state parks, public lands, golf to reopen May 5th

Monday afternoon, April 27th Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced the partial reopening state parks and public lands for outdoor recreation, as well as golf, on May 5th.

This includes day use of state parks and state lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) – and hiking trails, seasonal hunting and fishing, etc. on those lands. Coastal marine areas may lag behind on reopening, though.

Public gatherings, events, team sports, and overnight camping are not resuming at this time.

Not all state parks may reopen on May 5th, but in the coming days officials said they would announce specific park names.

Inslee also announced the reopening of golfing, but only in twosomes unless golfers reside in the same home. Social distancing will still be required and there will be no sit down or beverage service while on the course. He said they worked with the state golf alliance to come up with the rules.

Social distancing will be required in all reopened state outdoor recreation areas. Those heading to the outdoors are asked to bring food, sanitizers, masks and all needed items so to avoid stopping in local communities where trailheads, parks, boat launches are located.

The state is asking people to leave if they arrive to their outdoor destination and it is crowded.

Popular North Bend area hiking trails are [typically] managed by Washington State DNR. We are expecting to hear by Tuesday if the Rattlesnake Lake Rec area – managed by Seattle Public Utilities – will also reopen.

Governor Inslee said the partial reopening of the outdoors is data driven and if there is an uptick in COVD-19, it could be modified.

Some National Parks and Rec areas may not be open on May 5th. Users are asked to call ahead to find out if their destination is open.

Governor Inslee would not comment if the statewide stay home order would be extended past May 4th. He said they would like to ‘turn the dial’ and continue to reopen more of the state, but the decision would be ‘data driven.’

He hoped to have new virus modeling information and hospital data in the coming days and said a Wednesday news conference might cover further reopening plans in more detail.

Governor Inslee also announced that $300 million of federal money is coming for distribution to Washington cities and counties in the coming days, many which have been hit hard by revenue losses due to COVID-19 restrictions.

He said bankruptcy is not an option for Washington cities and/or counties as they play a critical role in emergency services and will help with COVID-19 contact tracing moving forward.

Governor Inslee during 4/27 news conference.

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