Engaging in outdoor exercise, such as fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, walking, running, are permitted activities under the stay-at-home executive order issued by Governor Mills, as long as residents continue to follow social distancing guidelines.
“Getting outside to go fishing, hiking, canoeing, scouting for a hunt, or other outdoor activities are essential to not only physical health, but mental health as well, particularly during these difficult times,” said Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso. “The governor and I continue to encourage people to get outdoors, but to do as close to home as possible and in strict adherence to physical distancing requirements. While it is important for your mental health to get outside, it is also important to do so safely.”
Governor Mills’ Executive Order 28 FY19/20 states that “Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as fishing, walking, hiking, running or biking,” are permitted, “but only in compliance with the gathering restriction in Executive Order FY19/20 and all applicable social distancing guidance published by the U.S. and Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Outdoor activities that are allowed include, but are not limited to: hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, boating, trapping, birding, canoeing, smelting, kayaking, fiddleheading, hiking, snowmobiling, and ATVing.
Maine residents are extremely active in the outdoors, and a recent study showed that Maine ranked third in the percentage of residents who are engaged in outdoor recreation. This executive order allows residents to continue to enjoy the outdoors while taking certain precautions. The Governor and Commissioner also extended the renewal period for boating registrations and suspended the requirement to have a fishing license through April 30, 2020 in order to support people getting outdoors. Turkey season is also set to begin May 4, and many people are starting to scout in preparation for their hunt.
For Mainers going fishing, hunting, boating, or hiking, please remember to always keep a minimum of six feet from other people. When driving to a spot to go fishing or enjoy the outdoors, travel only in a vehicle with other household members.
All essential activities should follow these guidelines:
Avoid the crowds
1. Visit lesser-known spots & explore close to home.
2. Have a plan B and C in case the first-choice destination is busy.
3. Get outside earlier or later in the day.
4. Recharge locally in backyards and neighborhoods.
Know before you go
1. Stay at least six feet away from other people.
2. Be prepared and stick to adventures within your experience level/comfort zone to avoid injuries and further stress health care resources.
3. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
4. Be prepared for limited access to public restrooms.
5. Always leave no trace, including cleaning up after pets.
6. Prevent tick bites by wearing light-colored pants, closed-toe shoes, and applying EPA-approved bug repellent.
If you are exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, or if you have recently been exposed to COVID-19, please stay home.