This is literally a breath of fresh air.
Friday was the first day we were able to obey the stay-at-home order and still use some of our state’s great recreational availability.
We were back on the golf links, back on our recreational waters, back in the state parks. Of course, it was different from the way we remember. It will stay that way for the month, at minimum. But at least the experiences are available.
Not to say that people haven’t quietly been in violation of the orders all along. Members at Pekin Country Club were sent a “cease and desist” letter last month after the club remained open despite Illinois Gov. Pritzker ordering it to close.
Even under new rules, we still need to be careful.
Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, Eagle Creek State Park in Shelbyville, and Wolf Creek State Park in Windsor are among the list of 24 state parks and recreation areas that will be open from sunup to sundown. Fishing from the bank or in a boat is limited to two persons together who do not live in the same residence. Some cities, including Decatur, have implemented a “slight variance” to the state order that allows more than two residents that live together in the same household to be on a boat together. State park amenities remain closed.
For golfers, public courses and private clubs can offer just eight slots an hour. Courses are walking only unless you can prove a disability or physical limitation with a handicap placard or doctor’s note. Illinois also requires clubs to leave driving ranges, chipping areas and practice greens shut down.
Consideration of additional relaxation of rules is something that needs to be considered sooner than later. Why can a dog be groomed but a person cannot? Why are flower and garden shops more important than others? Without the right online presence, restaurants have difficulty now with curbside pickup. How long can they continue to operate with limited income?
One of the things we have to consider is that every episode of recreation also holds the potential for infection, however inadvertent and unintentional. The same goes for all social interaction. We’re well-rehearsed on what’s now considered appropriate in those situation. We’ll need to work toward mastering the new ones.
Keep practicing social distancing. Remember, if it can be done at a grocery store, it can be done anywhere.
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