Campgrounds, charter boats allowed to reopen starting June 1 with social distancing requirements

Starting Monday, Minnesota is allowing campers from the same households to set up in remote and dispersed sites.

Campgrounds and charter boats in Minnesota will be allowed to reopen starting June 1 with social distancing requirements, state officials announced Wednesday. 

The Walz administration announced phased plans for reopening the state’s economy under the governor’s Stay Safe MN order. Phase II of the order, which begins June 1, allows developed campgrounds and charter and launch boat operators, such as tour and fishing boats, to reopen. 

Currently, only remote and dispersed camping is allowed. 

The DNR issued guidance for campground and boat operators who wish to reopen on June 1. 

CAMPGROUNDS

Campground operators are advised to reduce interactions between visitors and staff by providing and encouraging the use of online payments or on-site pay stations for handling campsite reservations, fees, and permits, and retail transactions such as firewood, ice and other purchases. 

Individual campsites, including those in developed campgrounds as well as remote and dispersed campsites, may be made available for recreational use by members of the same household. Larger group sites may be made available for multiple household groups at reduced capacity to ensure maximum group size is not exceeded and social distancing can be maintained.

Spacing between campsites should be adequate to allow for social distancing. Some individual campsites may need to be closed to prevent campground overcrowding or to provide adequate distance between sites.

Lodging facilities such as camper cabins, yurts and other overnight facilities may be open consistent with Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. 

Communal services and amenities, such as visitor centers, amphitheaters, large pavilions, group centers, communal fire rings, playgrounds, and other facilities that congregate large groups should not be open for use until public health officials indicate it is safe for groups larger than 10 people to congregate. 

Facilities and services such as bathrooms and shower buildings will be open only if they can be operated consistent with MDH, CDC and DEED guidance, including social distancing and cleaning protocols. 

Campground staff will be screened for COVID-19 and be provided with personal protective equipment. 

The DNR is advising visitors to do the following: 

  • Plan ahead
  • Be self-sufficient
  • Socially distance yourself 
  • Recreate with your household 
  • Know before you go
  • Follow the rules
  • Be well informed about MDH guidelines and the DNR’s outdoor recreation guidelines

BOATS AND LAUNCHES

Facilities, amenities and services such as boat cabins, bathrooms and other enclosed spaces may be available only if it is possible for staff and customers to follow social distancing guidelines, and for staff to implement enhanced cleaning protocols and provide contact-free procedures. Otherwise, operators may have to limit capacity or close some of those facilities or amenities. 

Capacity on boats should be limited to no more than the maximum number of people who can safely maintain an appropriate social distance of six feet, including both crew and passengers unless all patrons are the member of the same household. 

Boat operators are advised to provide and encourage the use of online payments for handling boat reservations, state fishing licenses, fee and any retail transactions or other purchases in order to reduce physical interactions between customers and staff. 

Staff should be provided with personal protective equipment and screened for COVID-19 prior to starting work duties. 

Boat operators should limit the sharing of equipment to the maximum extent possible and ensure frequent and thorough cleaning of equipment. Fishing and other shared equipment must be sanitized between uses by staff. Life jackets, rain jackets and seat cushions must also be sanitized between each use.