Coronavirus

Lake County Sheriff's Office won't enforce 2-person boating limit

Tony Esposito of McHenry cleans off the boat he co-owns with girlfriend, Sue Lambrakis, along the Fox River on May 14, 2019, in McHenry. McHenry is trying to bolster their tourism with multiple improvements to their river tourism industry.
Tony Esposito of McHenry cleans off the boat he co-owns with girlfriend, Sue Lambrakis, along the Fox River on May 14, 2019, in McHenry. McHenry is trying to bolster their tourism with multiple improvements to their river tourism industry.

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The Lake County Sheriff's Office will not enforce Gov. JB Pritzker's claim that no more than two people at a time can be on a boat during the state's extended shelter-in-place order.

At an April 25 COVID-19 briefing, Pritzker told reporters that boaters would be subject to a two-person restriction starting May 1. Because the limitation wasn't included in the governor's April 30 executive order, however, the sheriff's office will rely on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for guidance, Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Chris Covelli said.

"Our function on the waterways remains unchanged: maintaining the safety of its users and enforcing the law," Covelli said. "We ask boaters to use their best judgment, be responsible, and operate carefully. In addition to normal maritime enforcement, the temporary guidelines issued by the Fox Waterway Agency will be enforced ..."

Those guidelines include a temporary ban on rafting or tying two or more boats or other recreational equipment together. Additionally, anchored boats must remain at least 10 feet apart, and congregations in groups of more than 10 are prohibited.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Office could not be reached to say whether they will enforce Pritzker's recommendation.

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