Stay-at-home order affects sports, activities

ANNAPOLIS — Governor Hogan has issued a stay-at-home order in response to the global COVID-19 public health crisis. While there are certain exceptions for essential functions, the primary intent of the order is for people to stay at home in order to limit the spread of the virus.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been getting many questions and petitions from people looking for ways to avoid the stay at home order, especially when it comes to hunting, boating, and fishing.

“We have consulted with the state’s legal experts on how to interpret the governor’s executive order and the intent is simple: stay home unless you absolutely must leave,” a statement from the DNR said Friday. “This is a serious global health crisis and the number of confirmed cases and deaths in Maryland rises everyday. Risking unnecessary exposure is not just a hazard for you — it puts law enforcement, emergency responders, seniors and vulnerable populations in danger. We will save lives by doing the right thing and simply staying home.”
With that in mind, here is some additional guidance in response to frequently asked questions the department has received. This is current guidance and subject to change throughout the duration of the public health emergency.

Q: Can I go hunting?
A: Limited hunting is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family, but the social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.
Q: Can I go fishing?
A: Recreational fishing is prohibited. Limited fishing is allowed only if you are seeking food for you or your family, but the social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.
Q: Can I hunt or fish for species that are out-of-season to obtain food?
A: No. All current fishing, crabbing, and hunting rules and regulations still apply, including the requirement to have the appropriate licenses, permits and stamps.

Q: Can I go boating?
A: Recreational boating is prohibited until the governor lifts the executive order or until the State of Emergency has ended. However, if an individual is boating to seek food for them or their family, boating is permitted. Boats used to transport essential employees or goods as defined in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce are also permitted.
Q: Does kayaking or paddle boarding count as recreational boating?
A: Since kayaking and paddle boarding are both human-powered forms of exercise, akin to bicycling, they are permitted under the executive order. Guidance on social distancing and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.

Q: Can I drive a jet ski?
A: Use of motorized personal watercraft is not permitted now.
Q: I live on my sailboat – can I still be in my boat slip?
A: If your boat is your residence, you can remain on the vessel.
Q: Can I go to a state park?
A: Hiking, biking, and walking are allowed under the executive order but social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed. Most state parks are open but some have been closed or have restricted areas. Please choose a park nearest your home to limit travel and be sure to check our website before you leave for the park and read our guidelines for social distancing in state parks. Natural Resources Police and Maryland Park Service rangers are authorized to enforce the governor’s executive order and will close areas and disperse crowds as necessary.

Q: Can I fish in a state park?
A: Limited fishing is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family, but the social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.
Q: Can I fish/crab from a boat if it is for sustenance?
A: Limited recreational fishing and crabbing is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family, but social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.

Q: Can charter boats work next month since they technically fall under the recreational quota from a fisheries standpoint?
A: As part of the food supply chain, charter boats can continue operating but must abide by social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people. Charter boats and head boats should NOT have more than 10 individuals on the vessel at any time.
Q: Wildlife offices are closed, so hunters cannot get a permit to hunt on managed lands. Are managed lands closed to hunting?
A: Limited hunting is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family, but the social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed. Hiking, biking and walking are also allowed. Please check the department’s website for the most recent information on closures before visiting DNR’s managed lands.

Q: Are marinas essential businesses?
A: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) defines certain marine trades and marine services as essential. Additionally, the interpretive guidance that accompanied Executive Order 20-03-23-01 includes the following language:
“Companies engaged in the … distribution, and sale of oil, gas, and propane products” (section 2.g.ii) and “companies that supply parts, or provide maintenance and repair services for transportation assets and infrastructure including… marine vessels” (section 2.m.xii).
Q: Can I travel by boat?
A: While there are no orders limiting travel through Maryland by boat or car at this time, travelers are advised to make trips only for essential purposes. If travelers have been in close contact with others, we urge them to avoid close contact with others in Maryland and self-monitor for symptoms.

Q: Can I move my boat or have my boat moved from a marina to my home or my boat slip?
A: Yes, you can have your boat moved or delivered to your residence or boat slip. While it is not necessary for drivers in Maryland to have documentation about the purpose of travel, having such documentation may help. General recreational boating is not allowed.
Q: Can I perform maintenance on a vessel at a marina?
A: People can travel between homes or residences to perform essential maintenance. That would include a marine vessel if it is used as a home or residence, or if the essential maintenance seeks to prevent the loss of or damage to one’s property. Individuals should check with the marina before traveling as many have reduced hours or suspended service during the pandemic.

Q: Can I operate my off-road vehicle?
A: No. The purpose of Governor Hogan’s executive order is to discourage people from leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary.
Q: Can I go horseback riding?
A: No. Commercial and recreational riding centers and stables should suspend operations unless designed for medical or therapeutic purposes.
Q: Can I come from out of state to recreationally fish, hunt or crab for the day?
A: During the stay at home order, recreational fishing, hunting, and crabbing, including intentional catch-and-release, in Maryland is prohibited. Engaging in these activities is permitted only if seeking sustenance for you or your family. No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or other necessary purposes.
Visitors should follow the directives given to Maryland residents in addition to recommendations in your home state regarding travel and recreation. Everyone should also follow CDC guidance on domestic travel. The restrictions on recreational fishing, hunting, and crabbing, as well as all standard regulations regarding catch limits and license requirements, must be followed by all Maryland residents and visitors at all times.

Q: Can commercial fishing license holders from out of state come to Maryland to fish from their Maryland docked vessels?
A: Anyone fishing in Maryland must have the proper licenses and permits. The CDC has issued guidance on domestic travel. According to the CDC, “The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.”

Q: Can out-of-state vessels land commercial catch in Maryland?
A: The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.”