Last week Governor JB Pritzker announced his intention to reissue a modified stay at home order (now in effect) that would permit fishing and boating, but in groups no larger than two. State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) called for the Governor to acknowledge that families who have been living together during the previous stay at home order should be allowed to boat together in groups larger than two as a means to promote mental health and wellness during this stressful time. Weber’s 64th District includes the Chain O’Lakes, which is both a beloved recreation area and a major economic driver for the community.
Weber previously stated, “This is very frustrating to me and to residents of our district. If you shelter in place together, why can’t you go out in your boat as a family together? This is a great way for people to be able to escape, enjoy nature and get some fresh air.”
After some optimism that calls to allow families to boat together had been heard, Weber’s office has now received clarification through the Governor’s administration that those requests have been ignored.
Guidance from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) states:
“The EO says that boating is permitted pursuant to DCEO guidance. What is that guidance?
Boating is permitted in groups of no more than 2 persons.
What are Minimum Basic Operations for a marina?
Minimum number of workers necessary to open marinas and harbors to boat owners. Workers necessary for the operation of safe harbors and marinas to provide refuge for boaters when conditions making boating on open water unsafe and operations related to safety services such as fuel, emergency dockage and sanitary pump-out stations and workers providing tender or boat transportation services. If there is a restaurant or other facilities that prepare and serve food, they may operate utilizing the restrictions contained in Section 12(l).”
“I understand the immense difficultly in addressing COVID-19 and the need to protect public health,” said Weber. “However, what is the scientific basis behind preventing a family that has been living together from boating together? It makes absolutely no sense. It almost seems like the administration is deliberately overregulating this situation or simply isn’t concerned about the unintended negative consequences of the contradictions present in this modified order.
“Governor, if a family can safely live together, go for a drive in the car together or go for a walk in the neighborhood together; then surely they can get some much needed fresh air on a boat together.”