Venture Out RV Resort in Mesa, Ariz., is gearing up for most of their winter residents to return by putting health guidelines in place around the park, according to azfamily.com.
“Because of the health risk that we’re dealing with, the age group we’re dealing with, we have to do whatever we can to put into place to make sure that they’re safe and they’re kept safe,” said Teresa Beally, the activity director at Venture Out.
Beally says they issued a survey to the 3,500 residents over the summer, asking if they would be returning this winter due to the pandemic.
“According to everything that we got, about 80% of them that were in the United States said they would be coming back. The majority of our Canadians said they were not going to, and that’s what we’re finding out right now,” Beally said, explaining that the US/Canada border is closed to non-essential travel. “They want to come back because of the sun. They would rather deal with COVID here in Arizona in the sun than be back in Minnesota or Wisconsin and having to deal with it in the ice and snow.”
According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, Canadian visitors arriving by air have less impediment to getting here. They tend to stay for shorter amounts of time and spread their arrivals among fall and winter months. Only about 30% of those visitors stay longer than 30 days.
“There’s a bit of a sadness for people that aren’t coming, friends that we miss, and I see more fear in people, but that’s all over [the place],” said Karen Wood.
Wood is a seasonal resident from Wyoming and will be staying at Venture Out, as she’s done the last eight years, through March.
“I feel just as safe in Arizona as I did in Wyoming,” Wood said.
Normally, there would be more than 90 activities going on by this time of year, and all of the clubs would be in full swing.
“We would be having, this weekend, a homecoming event in which we would have at least 1,500 people attending. Such is not the case this year because we are at 39% occupancy right now,” Beally said. “It is so different. Usually, this city is just bustling. It’s nonstop activity almost 24 hours, seven days a week.”
Not to worry, though, says Beally. They are expecting the majority of their residents to return in January. When they arrive, there will be plenty of hand sanitizer around the park and other safety measures in place.
“Any event that we have is held outside. We have nothing scheduled inside this season at all,” Beally explained.
Venture Out also implemented its own contact tracing system to keep the case count at bay.
“Our clubs have logs they keep of who comes in, what time they come in, what time they leave. We have policies in place if somebody tests positive for COVID as to how we handle that within the park,” Beally said. “When we have any event, how people sign up for the event, we know who exactly is at these events so if something does happen we are able to get in touch with people and we work with the county from there.”