Some boating activities are opening today around the state of Washington, but San Juan County asks visiting boaters to please stay away

Pacific Northwest boaters are understandably clamoring to get on the water and limited recreational boating in Washington State opens state-wide today in accordance with Governor Jay Inslee’s recent announcement of “…a partial reopening of outdoor recreation beginning on May 5, 2020. This will open up widespread outdoor recreation, assuming health and safety guidelines continue to be used….”

Though that’s the case, he also clarified during the same news conference that, in the interest of public safety, the state-wide order does not remove the right of local governments to make their own policies.

Since a number of the opening state parks are located in the San Juan Islands (Sucia, Spencer Spit, and Stuart Island among others), it’s important to know how San Juan County is continuing to manage the risk for their communities.

A message from the San Juan County Council

May 5, 2020

“The San Juan Islands community loves visitors but urges you to postpone your travels to the islands right now. In light of the coronavirus, County officials are prohibiting non-essential travel to the San Juan Islands.

Please help prevent overloading our limited rural healthcare system by staying home. Watch inspiring island videos at as you comply with the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” order*. When this is all over, the community will look forward to welcoming you back to the San Juan Islands.”

Currently, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s proclamation requires everyone except essential workers and previous low-risk construction project workers to stay home.

In alignment with the Governor, the San Juan County Health Officer’s order prohibiting non-essential business closures and non-essential travel to the San Juan Islands has been extended to May 31. The order prohibits transient accommodations, camping, access to playgrounds, and overnight moorage. The new order can be read HERE.

State parks, including state park docks and mooring buoys, are open for day-use by locals. Visiting boaters anchoring out overnight or on private mooring buoys are not complying with the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order and are kindly requested to not come ashore.

Fishing and golfing for local parties of up to four from the same household are allowed. The Governor supports Washingtonians getting outdoors but requests folks follow social distancing guidelines and stay close to home while recreating.

Please find additional guidelines, case count, Health Officer Order and local information about COVID-19 on the San Juan County website, HERE.

The Visitors Bureau will encourage travel to the San Juan Islands in support of our small businesses when it is safe to do so once again. You can support businesses by buying gift cards or certificates for future travel or purchase of island-made items, visit our San Juan Islands Strong webpage HERE.

We will continue to monitor the situation as we work together with town and county officials to protect the people and places we love.

We wish everyone health and wellness.

San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau Staff and Board

*Governor’s full proclamation here.