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Local News

Hoping to take the family for a boat ride? Not so fast.

Boating will be restricted to 2 people per boat

As a public service, Shaw Media will provide open access to information related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. Sign up for the newsletter here

Gov. JB Pritzker clarified at a news conference Saturday that there will not be more than two people allowed to boat together at the same time when boating opens up again Friday, regardless of whether or not they are related to one another.

"It is restricted to two people per boat," Pritzker said. "You can't have five people, or 10 people in a boat. It is restricted to two, but not necessarily restricted as to whether they're related to one another."

During the daily COVID-19 news conference, a reporter asked whether if this meant a family of four or five, such as with a husband, wife, and kids, would have to pick two of them to boat at a time.

"They would, yes," Pritzker said.

Per a state of emergency declared by Executive Director Joe Keller of the Fox Waterway Agency, there are new rules and regulations for boating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes the prohibition of tying or rafting up two or more boats or other aquatic recreational equipment or devices in any waterway zones. Anchored boats must also be a minimum of 10 feet apart.

"Enforcement of these temporary additional rules and regulations may be enforced by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Lake County Sheriff's Department, and/or the McHenry County Sheriff's Department," Keller said in a letter announcing these restrictions.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, state Rep. Tom Weber, R-Lake Villa, said the governor's boating restrictions are "very frustrating" to him.

"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," he said. "I will continue to reach out to the governor and ask him to revise this so families can stay together."

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