Memorial Day weekend will mean an opportunity for many Georgians to go out and have some fun despite the current risks from the COVID-19 pandemic. This weekend will also be a big time for people to spend time around lakes, rivers, beaches and state parks.
The game wardens of the Department of Natural Resources will have their hands full, making sure that thousands of people are legally enjoying their holiday.
This year, however, they will also have the additional responsibility to ensure that everyone is still complying with Georgia’s social distancing guidelines.
DNR Law Enforcement Division Director Col. Thomas Bernard said in a statement that with social distancing their goal is not to write tickets but to ensure compliance from everyone.
“From what we have seen so far when we ask people to comply, they do, and that is what we are looking for,” Bernard said.
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Game wardens plans to stay strict with their enforcement of the state’s boating laws, especially for anyone who operates a boat while impaired. The DNR’s law enforcement division has a zero-tolerance policy for Boating Under the Influence and reminds the public that violators will go to jail.
In Georgia, there were 113 boating incidents with 26 fatalities in 2019, and 209 arrests for BUI. So far, in 2020, there have been 40 boating incidents, resulting in seven fatalities and 25 BUI arrests.
The state also had 44 drownings in 2019 and 14 so far in 2020.