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The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office declared ice-out on Lake Minnetonka on Thursday, April 2, in partnership with Freshwater, a “nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving freshwater resources and their surrounding watersheds.” This annual declaration means it’s the official start of boating season on Lake Minnetonka. With the snow storm on Easter Sunday aside, boaters are eager to get their boats on the water.

Governor Tim Walz extended the pandemic stay at home order until Monday, May 4 but said that the boating and fishing seasons would go ahead, and people should still practice social distancing during all popular summer activities.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s office recommends boaters use caution when they’re out on the lake. Tying boats or rafts together does not follow social distancing recommendations; however, those who live together can be on the boat together.

Walz also extended the list of essential businesses, which allows more people to get back to work. Workers now considered exempt from the stay at home order related to boating include those necessary to the operation of safe marinas and harbor, those providing boat transportation services, those who install and maintain docks, boat lifts and boat delivery and fishery labor.

Cities parks and beaches are currently still open. The City of Long Lake released a COVID-19 awareness advisory that states “the use of playgrounds is strongly discouraged. Any use is at your own risk,” to practice social distancing and stay home if you are sick.

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