With the coronavirus still wreaking havoc across the United States, several state governments have to come up with means to strike a balance between a need to keep people restricted and allowing them to get outside to enjoy some physical activity.
The Michigan authorities, however, appear to have found a way to merge both challenges.
Earlier this week, Up North Live, reported that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources had touted morel hunting as a great way for people to come out, while also engaging in safe social distancing.
Hunting With Social Distancing
Michigan usually hosts morels between late April and early June. In preparation for morel season, the Michigan authorities have touted the activity, explaining that people can come out to hint for the mushrooms – but only with a few family members.
The Department also added that prospective hunters should pick a warm day after a recent downpour, so their chances of catching some morels will increase. Hunters can check out hilly areas, as well as forests with hardwood trees like oak and maple.
The rationale for this is still unclear, but Up North Live had provided some additional tips, including carrying a knife, mesh bag, and a map of the location to help guide your efforts.
The decision could end up proving detrimental, especially since a lot of people could use morel hunting as an excuse to come out and violate the stay-at-home order in some way.
What Can be Considered as Acceptable Outdoor Activity Now?
In several jurisdictions, authorities have provided exemptions for people to come out and enjoy some time in the sun. Last week, the Mississippi authorities allowed people to come out to engage in fishing, as long as they do so while staying six feet apart.
WLOX reported that many Mississippi residents have come to see the importance of staying safe. However, while many residents fish for food or sport, a lot of them are also just grateful for the chance to come out and soak in some sunshine.
Sadly, not every place has been explicit in its classification of what is acceptable in this period. Recently, Australian news source The Age reported the arrest of a middle-aged man from Bonbeach in southeast Melbourne who was arrested for going on a mountain biking trip amid the lockdown.
The Australian was on his way from home after spending some time at a biking trail when police officers stopped his car and interrogated him. When he explained where he was coming from, the cops fined him $1,030 for “unnecessary travel” and added that the only time he should be out of his house is to go for an essential errand.
Of course, given that many consider mountain biking as an exercise and exercises haven’t been outlawed, it was impossible for Pat to know that he was “violating the law.”
In New Zealand, Health Minister David Clark recently came under fire after he was found mountain biking at a trail less than 2km away from his home.
“People can go outside to get fresh air and drive short distances if needed, but we have asked people to avoid activities where there is a higher risk of injury, and the Minister should have followed that guidance,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said of the incident.
Ambiguity on what’s considered acceptable is hurting the effectiveness of the lockdown situation, and authorities will need to address it.