Dock and lift workers now considered essential, DNR issues reminders for social distancing on water

[anvplayer video=”4885123″ station=”998122″]

For the past two weeks dock and lift companies like Donkey Docks in Prior Lake have been unable to get docks, lifts and boats in the water for lake lovers.

The ice was out on some Minnesota lakes two weeks ago, which means some dock and lift companies will start the busy season already two weeks behind schedule.

"We’re going to be way behind, unfortunately," said Nate McLain, owner of Donkey Docks.

Designated non-essential workers, McLain's 500 customers created a petition, and another one online garnered more than 11,000 signatures from around the state pushing for dock and lift workers to be considered essential.

Tuesday morning, McLain got an email.

"The governor has now released us as essential workers," McLain shared from the email.

Gov. Tim Walz has urged Minnesotans to get outdoors and enjoy our state, and the Department of Natural Resources is seeing that.

"Afton State Park has had 80% higher visitation for this past month as opposed to March of last year," said Kim Pleticha with the DNR.

But all that activity comes with the reminder to recreate close to home for both land and lake lovers.

"Recreate only with those who are in your household, maintain a six to 10-foot social distance, and when you get to the launch and if it’s crowded either find another launch or just wait until crowds dissipate and then you can go ahead and go on out just like you normally would," Pleticha said.

McLain said his crew will get to work right away knowing he'll be busy with installs until the end of June.

"We will probably get out, probably tomorrow, to be honest, as soon as we can. I’ll just scramble the crew together and we will get going," he said.