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Department of Natural Resources Issues Guidance on Governor Hogan’s Stay at Home Order

Coronavirus iconGovernor Larry Hogan has issued an executive order on March 30, 2020, which institutes a Stay at Home directive and says that no Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes.

While the order does allow for outdoor exercise recreation, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reaffirming the need for members of the public who engage in outdoor recreation to follow all rules and guidelines in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Hogan has stressed that safely practiced outdoor recreation time is essential to health and well-being. Most Maryland state parks and other public lands remain open, and residents may engage in safe, isolated activities. Updated guidance has been issued effective May 7, 2020.

Under the executive order, no Marylander should leave their home except for an essential reason. Therefore, recreational boating is not allowed. Subsistence hunting and fishing — limited hunting and limited recreational fishing and crabbing for sustenance — can continue, however social distancing must be adhered to strictly. No permits for fishing tournaments, including virtual tournaments, will be issued by the department until further notice. Commercial fishing is deemed essential and may continue since it is part of the food supply chain.

Anyone engaging in outdoor activity needs to follow social distancing and other CDC guidelines and state regulations. The department website includes a guide to social distancing and safe outdoor activity.

Some key guidelines include:

  • Only individuals, immediate family members, and people who reside together should engage in outdoor activities — these groups should be limited to 10 people or fewer, and distance of at least six feet from others should be maintained.
  • Extra soap or hand sanitizer should be packed for any activity.
  • Anyone who is sick or has been sick the past two weeks should stay home.

The department has been proactive in protecting public and employee health since Governor Hogan first declared a state of emergency on March 5, 2020. DNR has closed its offices and licensing centers and canceled public meetings and special events. State beaches, campgrounds, pavilions, playgrounds, and other facilities have been closed to prevent potential spread of the virus.

In recent weeks, department staff has reported that the vast majority of state park visitors are enjoying passive, solitary activities and complying with the governor’s orders on social distancing and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people. 

Maryland Natural Resources Police, an essential first responder force, and Maryland State Parks staff will continue to patrol these sites and other locations to enforce the orders, disperse crowds and protect the public.

More details are available on our Frequently Asked Questions page. 


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