MAINE, USA — Governor Janet Mills' recent "Stay Healthy at Home" directive, which requires people living in Maine to stay at home at all times unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, does not mean Mainers cannot still enjoy the great outdoors. Many Maine people are outdoors-oriented people and the state still wants to encourage that amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Engaging in outdoor exercise, such as fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, walking, and running are permitted activities under the executive order, as long as people 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 your physical health, but your mental health as well, particularly during these difficult times,” Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso said. “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.”

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If you are going fishing, hunting, boating, or hiking, please remember to always keep a minimum of six feet from other people. If you are driving to a spot to go fishing or enjoy the outdoors, travel only in a vehicle with members of your own household.

The 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.

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No matter where you are going or what your essential activity, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries an Wildlife said you should follow these guidelines:

AVOID THE CROWDS:

  • Visit lesser-known spots & explore close to home.
  • Have a plan B and C in case your first destination is busy.
  • Get outside earlier or later in the day.
  • Recharge in your backyard and neighborhood.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

  • Stay at least six feet away from other people.
  • Be prepared and stick to adventures within your experience level/comfort zone to avoid injuries and further stress on health care resources.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Be prepared for limited access to public restrooms.
  • Always leave no trace, including cleaning up after your pet.
  • 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.

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