State adds restrictions to parks, wildlife area visits

DOVER – A week after Gov. John Carney issued stay-at-home orders to slow the coronavirus spread, state parks and wildlife areas remain open but now with additional restrictions for residents and visitors.

Under the latest directive, anyone who enters Delaware from another state must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. The order applies to individuals who would like to fish, hunt or intended to visit state parks and wildlife areas, including the state’s golf courses.

The order also allows limited vehicle access to beaches for the purpose of surf fishing for those with a current surf fishing permit. Unlike normal surf fishing, surf fishing under the emergency order will only be allowed with the following restrictions: Only fishing from vehicles will be allowed, only two persons from the same household may accompany the vehicle and both persons must be actively fishing at all times, with distance between vehicles on the beach of 20 yards.

“This change is designed to allow a source of food and a bit of safely distant recreation, but it is not intended to allow the normal type of surf fishing we see with groups of people engaged in non-fishing activities,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said in a statement.

“The beaches are still not a place for numbers of people engaged in social activities. For anyone coming from out of state with the intent to surf fish, or trout fish, or hunt, or golf, or go to state parks or wildlife areas, please understand the 14-day quarantine applies, which means coming into Delaware to immediately engage in one of those activities and go back home is not allowed.”

Sunday’s order has the force and effect of law, the state said. Any failure to comply with the provisions contained in a Declaration of a State of Emergency or any modification to a Declaration of the State of Emergency constitutes a criminal offense.

While most state parks and wildlife areas are currently open with the exception of beaches for all but exercise and surf fishing, all state park campsites, cabins, cottages, yurts and playgrounds are closed. Buildings such as park offices and nature centers remain closed, and programs and tours are canceled.

The Brandywine Zoo and the Go Ape course at Lums Pond State Park will remain closed at this time.

Upstate trout season is now open to all residents in seven designated trout streams. Ommelanden shooting range near New Castle is now available to residents by pre-scheduled appointment only.

Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is required to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding groupings of people, DNREC said. All conditions are subject to change.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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