In this article, we are going to answer a question that all true "salt in their bones" anglers seem to be concerned about during the COVID-19 pandemic: can you / are you allowed to go fishing now during a stay at home / safer at home / shelter in place order?
In Florida, the short answer is yes. You can / are allowed to fish or go fishing during the current stay at home / safer at home / shelter in place orders. However, anglers fishing from shore may be limited due to the closure of state parks and public beaches. This obviously severely limits the abilities of wade fishermen and shore anglers, but does not completely restrict their ability to go fishing. If you're interested in shore fishing, we would calling FWC to see the best areas where you can access the water unrestricted.
We want to note that there are some recent changes made by FWC in their Executive Order No. 20-09 that you should be aware of as anglers and boaters:
Recreational vessel occupancy is limited to no more than 10 persons per vessel; and
A minimum distance of 50 feet between recreational vessels and any other vessel shall be maintained;
i. This distance provision does not apply to permitted mooring fields, public or private marinas, or any other permanently installed wet slips, and does not apply to vessels underway unless they are tied, rafted or moored to another vessel.
While you are still allowed to fish from a boat, captains must limit their boat's occupancy to less than 10 persons per vessel and maintain a 50' distance between themselves and other recreational vessels while stopped.
We always recommend contacting FWC prior to any fishing trip if you are unsure of your rights as a boater or angler.