Lakes Country Fishing Shops Prepare For Opener Amid COVID-19
The State DNR Says People Can Still Go Out And Fish But To Follow Guidelines Like Staying Close To Home, Not To Go In Large Groups Outdoors And To Follow Social Distancing.
LAKES COUNTRY, Minn — Fishing shops across Minnesota are at a stand still for people hoping to be able to walk into stores to get hooked up for the upcoming season in May.
As the Governor of Minnesota has asked non-essential businesses to remain closed and people to stay home and avoid any unnecessary travel.
The State DNR says people can still go out and fish but to follow guidelines like staying close to home, not to go in large groups outdoors and to follow social distancing.
So while the state says it’s okay to fish, shops like Quality Bait And Tackle have to keep their doors closed and switch to curbside service.
“Well I haven’t sold any rods in the last week can’t sell any inventory cause people wanna go out and look at a big thing if they wanna go out they wanna touch, they gotta touch,” Matthew Onstad Co-Owner of Quality Bait And Tackle.
He says this time of year is the slow season layover for fishing where most places are switching over stock from the ice fishing season to get ready for the opener sales.
He worries that COVID-19 may leave the economy reeling in Lakes Country.
“I guarantee tourism is going to be down by a lot in this town and that is our number one industry in this town and that’s going to be down and that’s something we have to plan for,” Onstad said.
The normal traffic that goes through towns like Battle Lake welcomes people from all across the state coming up to fish.
“There is just a steady stream of traffic going through town. If you wanna go make a left hand turn you might be sitting there for 10 minutes,”Co-Owner of Ben’s Bait Shop Bennett Stich said.
Stich says it’s a waiting game now for business as the Coronavirus makes its way across the state.
“At that point it’s all kind of up in the air as far as what they are seeing and how long they are going to extend it to,” Stich said.
Onstead says it’s important right now not to only support the shops but local businesses that he says are the lifeblood of towns.
“This is the slow season for us where a lot of places don’t have that luxury so get out and support each other on this because we are all we have,” Onstead said.