Social distancing guidelines lead to new hobbies

New Hobbies Because of COVID

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - For four years, there has been a steady decline of people buying fishing licenses and for a department that does not get state funding, it’s been concerning; until recently.

“To see this kind of revival is really, really hopeful,” said Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Undersecretary Bryan McClinton. “We’re really hoping that those people are fishing will continue to the next fiscal year. They’ll go buy their license this year.”

McClinton says fishing license sales increase for three straight months. He says they noticed the increase purchase days after Governor John Bel Edwards’s Stay-at-Home order. In May, there was a 35% jump compared to last year. McClinton directly attributes the rise to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines.

“People got sick of being around the house and said, ‘let’s take up fishing,’ and recognize themselves with the sport,” McClinton said..

It’s important to note that fishing licenses in Louisiana expired on June 30th. So, if you haven’t renewed yet, now is the time to do it before you head out for the next fishing trip. You can get them at certain retail outlets, as well as online at the Wildlife and Fisheries website.

Fishing is just one on a growing list of hobbies people are gravitating to because of the pandemic.

According to trade group, Outdoor Industry Association, bicycle ridership nationwide is up 105% from last March.

"I'd say five, tenfold of the amount of business we generally see day to day," said Casey Black, Bayou Bicycles owner. "It was a bigger boom than what we expected."

To keep up with demand, Black said he had to pause some service work to catch-up with growing demand. "We know everybody wants to get outside so we're working hard to make sure we can get back on track," Black said.

At the Plant Gallery, Camille Ponseti says there are shortages at nurseries because garden centers are inundated with returning and new customers.

“It’s been crazy,” Ponseti said. “It’s actually kind of quite a phenomenon with how busy it has been across the board.”

She says they are getting a variety of newcomers, “we get a lot of, ‘hey I don’t know how to take care of plants, what do I not kill?’ A lot of ‘I have a yard and I’ve never had time to do anything but we’re stuck at home could you give us some help,’ A lot of people just now dipping their toe in.”

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