Fishing guides and outdoor shooting ranges should be among the next outdoor industries to reopen for Michigan citizens.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to announce Friday that the construction industry will be able to resume work May 7 providing adherence to strict social distancing protocols. Gov. Whitmer has explicitly stated throughout the reopening process that those working in the “outdoor industries” will be the next let back to work.
MUCC represents a significant portion of fishing guides and private sportsmen’s clubs, which have outdoor shooting ranges, throughout the state. An overwhelming concern has been raised from both of these cohorts about when and how they will be able to return to work and serve the public.
As set forth by Gov. Whitmer’s reopening strategies related to other outdoor industries, both of these industries would be able to operate within the framework of safe social distancing protocols. MUCC has offered language to the governor’s office via letters hoping to help expedite the process and show that both industries can open in the interim using a scientifically-driven approach before Michigan resumes full operations.
View the MUCC letter regarding fishing and charter guides here.
View the MUCC letter regarding outdoor shooting ranges here.
Currently, outdoor shooting ranges are allowed to operate, unstaffed, to members of the club or range only. MUCC is advocating for the reopening of outdoor shooting ranges to the public consistent with guidelines and requirements of Executive Order 2020-59, including keeping a distance of six feet between individuals who do not reside in the same household.
“Engaging members of the public in our outdoor spaces in a proactive manner is key to the revitalization of Michigan’s health, sanity and well-being” said Amy Trotter, MUCC executive director. “Our affiliates and clubs that have outdoor ranges are eager to be a part of this process and rely on members of the public to stay in operation. And our fishing guides are watching their livelihoods decimated each day.”
States like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana have opened their waters back up (or will be soon) to guide and charter services. Per Gov. Whitmer’s regional approach, the May 7 reopenings need to reflect this regionalized action.
MUCC has offered these interim measures to Gov. Whitmer to help her reopen guided fishing operations in a safe manner consistent with social distancing protocols:
- Vessels under 17 feet are allowed one client and one guide
- Vessels between 17 and 24 feet are allowed up to two clients from separate households and one guide
- Vessels between 24 and 30 feet are allowed up to three clients from separate households and one guide.
- Vessels 30 feet or over are allowed up to four clients from seperate households, the guide and a mate.
- If all clients are from the same immediate household with one guide, there would be no further restrictions regardless of vessel size (beyond vessel capacity and other regulatory requirements).
- All clients from separate households and guides must remain six feet apart at all times.
- Captains may replace a client with a first mate if desired.
- Guides must provide proper hygiene items to clients including hand sanitizer.
- Guides must disinfect every practicable surface of their vessel after each client trip.
- Fishing buffs or a cloth covering consistent with Executive Order 2020-59 must be worn while on the vessel fishing.
- Guides must utilize netting practices consistent with social distancing, which includes using a long-handled net and the length of the fishing rod to remain six feet apart.
- Clients must drive separately to launch sites if they are not of the same household.
- Guides must communicate with clients the importance of not congregating when a fish is hooked or to take pictures.
- Common facilities must be used in accordance with social distancing rules
MUCC has offered these measures to Gov. Whitmer to help her reopen outdoor shooting ranges in an interim manner that is safe and consistent with a science-based approach:
- In accordance with Executive Order 2020-59, members of the public should still be required to maintain a distance of six feet from individuals outside of their households.
- Shooting ranges should remain operational without in-person contact with staff or volunteers.
- Shooting ranges may also be required to sanitize commonly touched surfaces, as well as provide hand sanitizer for customers.
- Payments could be touchless through the use of dropboxes or paying by phone/online.
- We also ask specifically that MDNR shooting ranges that do not require staff for operation be opened to the public.
MUCC represents 40,000 members and 200 affiliate clubs throughout Michigan. Since 1937, MUCC has united citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage. Click here to join or renew your membership today!