Hogan’s relaxed coronavirus bans on Md. boating and fishing not enough for some

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan loosened his coronavirus-related bans on recreational boating and fishing that were originally established in March. However, some see room for more flexibility.

The update that took effect Thursday allows family members to go boating — or fishing from a boat — together.

But a Potomac River bass fishing guide said the changes don’t go far enough.

“Now they can fish with family, but they still can’t fish with friends. That’s the problem with the revised order that’s come down from the governor,” said Steve Chaconas.

“We have a limited season for guided bass trips on the Potomac River, usually starting in mid-March and running until about mid-October,” he said.

“Losing a month and a half — likely now two and a half months — that’s a substantial part of our service, and it also puts us into the heat of the summer where our trips start to wind down a little bit because of the heat and humidity. The money that we lost in March, we’ll never get back.”

Chaconas is still unable to take clients out fishing in Maryland, and he’s limited by social distancing guidelines in Virginia, too.

“To have liquor stores and lottery sales still taking place and not allowing us to go out and fish just doesn’t make sense.”

Chaconas said Maryland’s previous ban on recreational fishing was hardly enforced.

“On social media, anglers and boaters have been posting pictures of their outings and how much fun they’ve been having going out there in defiance of the governor’s order.

“Numbers from the Maryland DNR say that only two citations in the whole state were written last month. Only two. And yet, hundreds of boats are out every weekend,” Chaconas said.

He said a little more tweaking to the rules would do a lot.

“To go out on a boat, it would be very simple to take someone’s temperature, make sure they put (on) hand sanitizer before they come on, and they’d wear face coverings all day long,” said Chaconas.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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