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2020 COVID 19 Update 2 - May 26 last updated 5/26/2020 5:31 PM by Justin

For immediate release - May 26th 2020

Based on the updated executive order and ruling by the DNR, tournaments will resume as scheduled on our website.

PLEASE THOROUGHLY READ AND UNDERSTAND THE FOLLOWING RULES

The following are expected of all WMB participants to be compliant with the current ruling. We are taking this very seriously as to not jeopardize the tournament season for everyone.

  • IF YOU ARE SICK, FEEL SICK, SMELL SICK, LOOK SICK, WERE NEAR SOMEONE SICK, or otherwise potentially exposed to COVID 19 - STAY HOME
  • Please read the first one again, and then a 3rd time.
  • All members should sign up online Here prior to their first event if possible
  • Participants are expected to practice social distancing in their travel to and from the event as well as at the event itself.
  • Participants are asked to travel to events in a manner that does not require using trailer parking spots for non-towing vehicles and still complies with social distancing. Parking varies greatly from ramp to ramp so please plan ahead.
  • It is still very possible for anglers to be ticketed by LEOs for not practicing social distancing.
  • Upon arriving at an event, avoid gathering in groups. Stay with your boat or vehicle.
  • Only 1 member of a team should approach the director and should only do so when there are fewer than 10 people gathered to register. 
  • Your director may have further instructions to coordinate entry fees and weighins after the first event.
  • Once registered, participants should return to their vehicles, prepare their boats and launch. Waiting on the water will assist in keeping people far enough apart.
  • Upon the conclusion of an event, please use good judgement when retrieving boats, using docks, or occupying areas that tend to be congested at this time. Please exercise patience and wait for opportune times to pass through these areas.
  • Please retrieve your boat before weighing in. Once on the trailer, wait with your boat. A director will notify you when you may bring fish to the scale.
  • Only 1 team member should bring fish to the scale. Upon weighing, fish should be released and you should return to your boat.
  • Teams not weighing fish or not in contention are respectfully asked to depart after weighing at their convenience. 
  • If you leave early and happen to win a prize or check, you will be notified and we will make sure that you get it.
We will be releasing more detailed instructions for HOTD, D&R, and MCBC in the coming days. Please, always keep in mind that the 2 main things to remember are - stay 6' away from others, and avoid congregating in groups of any size wherever and whenever possible. 

For immediate release – May 8, 2020

Regarding the latest stay home order effective until May 28th: All WMB, MCBC and MHSBC events through this period are cancelled. Some weeknight divisional events may be rescheduled at the end of the year.

Regarding Covid 19, stay-home orders, social distancing and related state rules as they apply to West Michigan Bass and D&R Sports Center tournaments: There are many aspects of the current and anticipated shutdown orders that affect tournaments. While we are seeing less restrictions, stay home orders are still in place and we anticipate social distancing rules as well as “gathering” size limits to impede our ability to legally host tournaments throughout most of the summer. We have had many questions regarding the upcoming season and it is the purpose of this announcement to clarify and solidify our plan for this upcoming season.  We are looking into ways to operate registrations and weigh-ins that can work within the constraints of the social distancing rules that are or may be in place. This will require all participants to go above and beyond to follow guidelines and do a little extra work to ensure that IF we can have tournaments, they don’t get shut down for non-compliance. 

Challenges we are anticipating:

  • The state limiting gatherings to 50 or 100 persons or fewer.
    • This won’t affect most divisions at 50 people. For events like HOTD or some of our larger weeknight/weekend divisions (as well as D&R and MCBC) we anticipate work arounds for online registration and weigh-in protocols which limit the number of people in the area at any given time
  • Social Distancing and boating: currently 2 people may fish from the same boat if they can maintain social distancing (6’ of separation).
    • This is a challenge as bass boats are not setup to maintain 6’ of distance between members seated during running with the outboard nor is it safe for passengers to be riding outside of the cockpit area during high speed boating. It also poses implications to team members driving together to an event in the same vehicle – most venues do not have ample parking for everyone to drive separately.
    • We are consulting our legal advisors to better understand the ramifications of this
  • Social Distancing and Weigh-ins
    • We will likely need to take extra steps to maintain distancing at the tanks and trailer this year. This should be pretty straightforward and everyone will be instructed on what to do. We ask that everyone make an effort to learn the new protocol to the best of their ability prior to an event.
  • Social Distancing and Registration
    • Registration for larger events will be moving online. You will need to sign up and pay for an event 48hrs prior to the event - even if you are in the early draw. We will not have any meetings or personal contact in the morning until you drive by the gun boat. Detailed instructions will be released when relevant.
  • “Essential Business”
    • We are unsure at this point if we are allowed to operate, even outdoors or how this applies to or supersedes public gatherings. We are awaiting clarification from our legal advisors on this as well.

As much as we would like to ignore some of the mandates being imposed on us and anglers in general, we must also consider that we are a business, the largest tournament organization in the state and D&R and HOTD represent two of the largest series in the state. We will most likely draw attention from the DNR, COs, and municipal law enforcement. The absolute last thing we want is to cause impediments to all tournaments in the state or to cause issues with local municipalities using our tournaments as excuses to shut down access sites. For these reasons it is paramount that we seriously observe standing orders until clear legal precedent is established. 

Hair of the Dog

Hair of the Dog events currently draw upwards of 170 people. We do not expect that gatherings of this size will be allowed any time soon. It will be our intention to move all HOTD tournament registrations to be paid online 48hrs prior to each tournament. Anglers will arrive at the launch location using the access sites of their choosing and line up as normal. Weigh-ins will be conducted in accordance with social distancing rules once we have a clear understanding from our lawyers what can and can’t be done. If there is no way to host an event within the State’s rules, the event will be cancelled and not rescheduled. The entry fee for subsequent events will be adjusted to maintain equal time/money as other divisions. For instance, if the first event is canceled, the entry for the remaining 4 events will each increase by $30. (120$ entry fee dispersed over 4 remaining events = $150 ). 

The early draw will be on May 15th at 12pm.  Entries must be submitted and paid by 11am. If you have already paid the early draw, we will issue a refund by request prior to May 15th given the current uncertain status of the upcoming season. After the draw, refunds will not be issued unless the season is cancelled.

 

Other WMB Divisions

It is our hope that given the smaller size of our many weekend and weeknight divisions that these stand a much greater chance of being allowed under the gathering size provisions and social distancing rules. We anticipate some schedules in June may get pushed back until the orders are relaxed. Please pay attention to schedules on the website for these divisions as they will be updated as needed.

 

D&R Sports Series

The D&R Series will be addresses in a separate communication.  If you didn’t receive this communication please contact WMB for more information.

WMB Classic

The WMB Classic is planned to be held in Sault St Marie on the St Mary’s river the last weekend in Sept. Based on the current situation, Sault St Marie reserves the right to cancel our plans with them if they feel a large group “lowpers” might endanger their community.  We will have contingency plans in place for such an event and release those plans to you as soon as they are available.

 

In closing, much of this season is still a complete unknown to us. There is no way to predict how long orders will last or what they will entail until days before they are renewed. We are committed to doing everything we possibly can to host tournaments this summer safely and legally and will do our best to communicate changes and updates. Please be sure to follow the following pages for the most up to date information. Also, if you are fishing any larger events, please be watch for information regarding online registration or updated tournament rules or protocols. West Michigan Bass on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/westmibass/

West Michgan Bass Twitter News & Info Feed: https://twitter.com/NewsWmb

News & Info on our Website: https://westmichiganbass.com/Page/page-news