April 27, 2020
Pennsylvania officials revealed plans Monday to ease restrictions on some outdoor recreational activities, as the Wolf administration begins to chart progress toward its targets for reopening from the coronavirus stay-at-home order.
Beginning May 1, the state will open golf courses, marinas and privately owned campgrounds. Also on the date, guided fishing trips will be allowed to resume.
These sites will be required to follow Pennsylvania's updated life-sustaining business guidance to maintain safe practices. A review by the state determined that these activities can safely resume while prioritizing public health and safety.
In state parks, campgrounds will remain closed through Thursday, May 14.
"Pennsylvanians have remained resilient throughout this COVID-19 crisis, and as we successfully continue to flatten the curve to protect our physical health, it is critical that we also focus on our physical and mental health during these extraordinary times," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said. "As the weather warms and daylight lengthens, enjoying time outdoors is an important way to manage stress.
Pennsylvania outlined a three-phase plan last week that will be used to reopen regions of the state based on benchmarks showing reduced spread of COVID-19. The Philadelphia area is expected to be among the last in Pennsylvania to reopen.
"As we start to take measured, limited steps to reopen our commonwealth, reopening these industries will help to rebuild our economy and strengthen our mental health."
The decision about outdoor recreation comes after a Kaiser Family Foundation study found about 45% of U.S. adults reported a negative impact on their mental health as a result of restrictions on activity.
The CDC has issued guidelines on how to best ensure safety while visiting parks and recreational facilities during the pandemic.
“Practicing social distancing takes a little planning and patience, but it is necessary if we want to continue to flatten the curve while ensuring that Pennsylvanians have opportunities to de-stress and get exercise,” Wolf said. “Finding the balance between enjoying the outdoors and staying safe is only possible when all Pennsylvanians are abiding by the same precautions. It’s critical that all Pennsylvanians adhere to the safety guidelines to allow for these outdoor activities to remain available to the public.”