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Editor’s note: State associations around the U.S. have been actively monitoring government orders and other acts of legislation that may impact private RV parks and campgrounds during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In an effort to minimize miscommunication and the release of erroneous material, WOODALLSCM.com (WCM) is only publishing content that is submitted directly from state associations and the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). 

This blog will be continually updated as more information comes in. As owners, it is important to realize that information is changing rapidly. Here at WCM we will do our best to keep the information updated as best we can, but owners will want to reach out to their associations or to ARVC if they have any questions. 

We have included each association’s contact information within their state section. 

State information is in alphabetical order.

Post Updated March 27 at 3:45 p.m.

ARVC

Keep up to date with ARVC’s coronavirus blog: https://www.arvc.org/Blog/1084/Coronavirus-What-You-Can-Do-to-Protect-Yourself,-Your-Employees-and-Campers

You can also see a list of up-to-date state information on open or closed parks by clicking here. 

CALIFORNIA

WOODALL’SCM.com received the following communication from CampCalNow RV Park and Campground Alliance’s President and CEO Dyana Kelley on Wednesday (March 25). 

Thank you all for your patience while I sorted out some details. In the past week, I have talked to nearly 100 parks to get your feedback from the streets. Thank you for sharing your stories and the steps you are taking to keep your family, your park, and your guests safe.

Whether a park is “essential” is really governed by the local county health departments.

This week, I spoke with several county health departments in order to distinguish “essential” from “non-essential” businesses. What I can tell you is that they all agree that RV parks, in general, are “essential.” The services provided are life-sustaining. Some counties will be enforcing mandates more than others. Mendocino County stated that residents in the area are calling to report RVs going in and out of parks, and authorities are making visits to parks to ensure that they are not open for “new business.”

Complaints in any county will be immediately acted on, but not all are putting enforcement on the ground.

In general, county officials do not want the transmission of COVID-19 across county lines and are asking for our assistance to minimize recreational travel.

Here are some things you can do to show you are cooperating with the mandate:

  • Post all city, county, and state health notices.
  • Close all common areas and pools.
  • Close your office and store to guests, but remain available by phone.
  • Please do not accept “recreational” reservations right now. This could jeopardize all parks from being able to remain open.
  • Offer your resources — dump station, propane, water — to the community. Travelers can come in and take care of services before moving on. Even if you do not have full-time residents, you can be open as a community resource.
  • USE YOUR BEST JUDGMENT when conducting day-to-day business.

I have asked what parks are supposed to do when an RVer is wanting to stay a night on their way home. The answer varies from “tell them to go to a rest stop” to “use your best judgment.” Rest stops hardly seem like the solution and could escalate an already challenging situation, but some counties are adamant about overnighters.

California parks are for the most part open and will stay that way if all work together. My ultimate goal is to keep parks open and ready to roll once the mandate is lifted. If I continue to push for granularity at the state level, we are likely to be shut down entirely just as open spaces continue to be shut down. Then we will need an order to reopen. We do not want to wait to be told we can open.

Lastly, I have been working closely with CalTravel, Visit California, and also had a great conversation with Mike Belote, president of California Advocates, who represent the RV Industry Association (RVIA). Mike has had conversations with several businesses in our industry who are all trying to define “essential.”

“It would be nearly impossible to define every job, in every business, in every industry throughout our state, and it would likely not benefit our industry to back the government into a corner,” he noted.

Mike agreed that the stance we are taking at CampCalNOW is in the best interest of our members and the RV park industry in California.

Let’s all work together to support the RVing community, keep our parks open, and look to a brighter future.

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group for immediate updates, industry networking, and community connection and conversation.

Also, please consider taking our brief COVID-19 update survey.

To contact CampCalNOW call (530) 885-1624 or email ​[email protected] 

CAROLINAS

Dee Witting, executive director of the Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CARVC), explained that all parks are open in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

The association sent the following message to owners on March 24:

As part of the strategic plan in our efforts to assist our campgrounds, the CARVC Board of Directors, Mike Hobby, the Area 4 ARVC Representative, and Byron Carroll, worked together to draft three letters to be used if necessary to deem campgrounds as an “essential business”. Two letters addressed the governments of both North and South Carolina, and a draft letter to be sent to the membership that, if needed, can be sent to their state representative, senator, or county official.

Byron Carroll volunteered to reach out to government officials in both states if needed. Carroll travels to Washington, D.C., at least once a month for his current work and has a relationship with many government officials. He traveled to Washington, D.C., as a delegate to Advocacy Days and Carroll owns and operates his own campground.

Carroll was able to reach out to several leaders: five North Carolina representatives, three senators, the N.C. Dept. of Transportation, Housing and Human Services, Public Health, N.C. Parks and Recreation, N.C. Emergency and the State-Wide Joint Info Center. Our CARVC message got delivered to the governor’s office before Monday’s news conference.

Dee will continue to work with ARVC, other state execs, and other partners throughout the U.S. that are uniting to keep the outdoor hospitality industry open for business. The CARVC Board of Directors will continue to work strategically and be prepared to take action when deemed necessary!

We can’t stress enough the need to continue to practice social distancing so we can be a part of the cure.

Thank you for your membership and please feel free to reach out to CARVC with any questions or concerns.

To contact CARVC call (803) 569-1986 or email [email protected]

COLORADO

UPDATE: Mary Arlington spoke with WCM on Friday (March 27) and noted that Colorado State Parks were closing and removing all their guests. There is no statement yet on how this decision could impact private park owners. 

This message was received by Mary Arlington, executive director of the Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners Association (CCLOA). 

The CCLOA wants campgrounds to be classified as “essential businesses,” but when we realized each county was to make its own regulations, then we knew we needed to aim for solid definitions in the first county with hopes the others would model after it. The first county to step forward created strict regulations, but later eased them to allow for the necessities of essential RVers. The second county began to implement strict procedures too and now we’re working to ease it.

We began communicating with members in late February and have done so with more frequency as the weeks have progressed. We began communicating with the state soon after COVID-19 was found instate (unfortunately, their announcements began during our conference). This weekend’s letter to Gov. Polis included a sentence about how we had gained ground in one county and had 63 more to go.

We understand the need for local communities to ensure their medical infrastructure can handle the issues, and that essential businesses aren’t serving the public in a business-as-usual manner. This a time to close playgrounds and rec halls, have guests self-distance themselves and implement cleaning practices that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Contact: [email protected] or (970) 573-0320

FLORIDA/ALABAMA

The Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Florida ARVC) and Alabama Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Alabama ARVC) have canceled their joint spring convention, which had previously been planned for May 13-15 at the Doubletree Hilton at SeaWorld in Orlando, according to a press release.

“We held off as long as we could from changing our May 2020 conference and expo dates, but unfortunately we have no choice but to reschedule the event due to obvious reasons: the virus and escalating traveling difficulties,” said Bobby Cornwell, executive director of both associations. “Over the next week or so, we will be working out the details with the hotel and the speakers, and try to find the most appropriate place and time to reschedule the conference and expo.”

To contact Florida ARVC call (850) 562-7151

KANSAS

This message was received by Mary Arlington, executive director of the Kansas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Kansas ARVC). 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Brad Loveless assured me, both yesterday and today (March 24), that no one in Kansas plans to ask RV park owners to alter registrations to discourage COVID-19.

At this time Kansas RV parks remain open.

Kansas ARVC has been in touch with state officials about having RV parks and campgrounds classified as “essential” businesses.

We began communicating with members in late February and have done so with more frequency as the weeks have progressed.

We understand the need for local communities to ensure their medical infrastructure can handle the issues, and that essential businesses aren’t serving the public in a business-as-usual manner. This is a time to close playgrounds and rec halls, have guests self-distance themselves, and implement cleaning practices that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Contact: [email protected] or (785) 761-6627

LOUISIANA

WOODALLSCM.com received this update from the Louisiana Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (LARVC).

Members in hospitality,

As of now, our parks are considered “essential” and we are OPEN!

Please do your best to maintain even minimal operations as this situation evolves.

We are waiting to receive an official statement from the governor’s office in regards to the tourism industry that we will send out as soon as it is received.

These are some of the reasons LARVC considers parks “essential”:

  • Almost all private campgrounds have convenience stores that serve their markets, and many dispense fuel and provide propane both to their campers and the public.
  • RV parks and campgrounds provide safe accommodations for families, many of whom rely on a secure place to park their RV for the night or for the season.
  • RVers provide their own quarters, lessening the need for interaction with others.

To contact LARVC call (225) 752-1455.

MICHIGAN

Editor’s note: This message came from Scott D. Everett, director of legislative affairs for Fraser Consulting, which works with the Michigan Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC Michigan). 

Under the governor’s Exec Order 2020-21, businesses must determine which of their workers are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations. Up until midnight on March 31 you can do that orally, by telling employees that they are.

However, after that date, it has to be in writing. A pretty simple deal. here is a suggestion:

COMPANY LETTERHEAD IS IDEAL, BUT PROBABLY NOT MANDATORY

DATE

To whom it may concern,

In accordance with Executive Order 2020-21 our employee INSERT EMPLOYEE NAME HERE has been determined to be essential and necessary for our company to conduct minimum basic operations and is therefore authorized to be working.

Thank you

SIGNATURE OF OWNER/OPERATOR/MANAGER

TITLE

BUSINESS NAME

As for you, the campground owner(s), I would consider yourself an employee, hence, give yourself a letter — why not.

ALSO, I recommend, that you tell your employees to keep that letter with them. We just don’t know how all of this exactly plays out in the weeks and maybe months to come.

If you have any further questions you can contact Scott D. Everett by calling or texting (517) 204-3328, or emailing [email protected]

You can contact Michigan ARVC at [email protected] or (989) 619-2608

NEW JERSEY

WOODALLSCM.com received the following message from the New Jersey Campground Owners Association (NJCOA) 

As per Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order on March 20 residents are to “STAY AT HOME” until further notice to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Until Murphy’s orders are lifted or changed, private campgrounds should remain closed for all vacationing and/or recreational activities. Seasonal and daily campers are not essential to this crisis and should remain at their “primary residence.”

If we do not follow the governor’s orders we all run the risk of being closed down by Murphy. If we lose our status we may lose our ability to have our staff prepare our campgrounds for opening.

Please have written guidelines in place so you have a direct answer for your customers when they call or email.

This is not business as usual.

To contact the NJCOA call (609) 545-0145 or email [email protected] 

NEW YORK

Woodall’s Campground Management received the following update from the Campground Owners of New York (CONY). 

Until otherwise directed by New York officials, and based on inquiries we’ve made, CONY considers campgrounds included in Governor Cuomo’s “New York on PAUSE” Executive Order 202.6, under essential infrastructure — hotels, and other accommodations. Various county health departments are issuing lists of non-essential components of campgrounds that cannot be operated or should have employee/public access modified for health and safety, so we’ve been advocating that campgrounds check with their local department of health office regarding that.

But otherwise, the lodging component of campgrounds is still OK to operate. We are in touch with Albany on this and if any other developments come to light, we will notify our CONY member campgrounds. As with all things related to the COVID-19 crisis, things are fluid and not absolute.

You can contact CONY by calling (585) 586-4360 or by email at [email protected] 

OHIO

This message is from the Ohio Campground Owners Association’s Executive Director Kristy Smith

On Sunday (March 22) evening, the Ohio Governor put out a “stay at home” order and closed all non-essential businesses. While the order does not specifically mention campgrounds in any exemptions, we are hopeful that a number of provisions within the Governor’s order pertain to campgrounds. We are working hard with the Governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Health on clarification.

Some of the exemptions under the governor’s order that we are hopeful should apply to campgrounds:

  • If owners have a permanent guest staying with them or someone who lives at their campground, they would seem to be covered to remain at the campground. We think we are included in provision No. 1 which states that “for purposes of this order, homes or residences include hotels, motels, shared rental units, shelters, and similar facilities.” This would hopefully apply to our longterm/seasonals guests too.
  • We are also thinking we fall under a provision (5 (c)) of in the order where it mentions an exemption for essential outdoor activity, which allows individuals to visit public parks and outdoor recreation areas.
  • A provision in the order (12(b)) allows our camp stores to operate since we sell groceries.
  • Provisions in the order (14 (d) and (f)) would allow for RVs traveling home from cross-state or cross country to pass through Ohio (and potentially be able to stay at our campground as they pass through). This has already been happening at our campgrounds as RVs are traveling from the south and trying to return home to Canada, etc. and stop and stay with us for the night. We are an essential part of the national transportation system. Daily/overnight use should really apply to anyone traveling with a purpose that is exempted under the order such as traveling doctors, nurses, and other essential workers/travelers.
  • We will be able to maintain essential operations of our park such as water, sewer, etc. under an exemption for essential infrastructure (number 9).
  • We also sell propane to RVers and members of the public, which is an essential service.
  • We are also really the only place where RVers traveling home, or traveling workers, can hookup and/or use a dump station. They have a secure place to park their self-contained RV overnight and hook up to sewer and clean water.

You can contact OCOA at (614) 221-7748 or [email protected]

PENNSYLVANIA

The Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) told WOODALLSCM.com on Monday (March 23) that they continue to give campground owners the tools they need to operate their parks within Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

They were told late last week that parks are listed as “essential.”

The primary concern is for the health and safety of campers, staff and the public. On Friday (March 20) the association was granted clarification by the Governor’s office that campgrounds are a life-sustaining essential business and may remain open. PCOA is urging all of its members to comply with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and to take measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Campgrounds and campers are reminded that aspects of daily operations are not considered life-sustaining and that normal operations will not resume at this time. The exemption is based on limited staffing and limited consumer interaction. It is also based on campground owners, managers and staff doing due diligence to limit and stop the congregation of guests.

If they are open campground owners should have policies in place that include what they are doing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Some examples include but are not limited to:

  • If a park is continuing to keep office, laundry or restrooms open it needs to have the sanitation and people limits in place.
  • Play areas, game rooms, recreation halls and other like amenities should be closed at this time.
  • The encouragement of outdoor recreation that does not involve interaction with other families is recommended.
  • Strict standards and swift action need to take place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and help flatten the curve.

Campgrounds will decide on an individual basis whether to remain open or open when their season begins. Several Pennsylvania parks are providing accommodations for families traveling, including those forced to relocate and travel far distances home or to safer locations. It is important to be able to provide this accommodation for the health and safety of the public.

If a facility is not open at this time of year or does limited business, it is recommended that they remain closed during this shelter in place time and do not allow consumers on the property until this period of time is over. Limiting travel and movement is important in the efforts as a society to stop the spread of Covid-19. PCOA members are encouraged to work together to ensure this pandemic ends quickly and business can resume.

The primary objective is to work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the public. If at any time campgrounds are not able to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19, Pennsylvania campgrounds will close until public safety allows them to re-open.

The rationale for why campgrounds should be considered life-sustaining businesses:

  • Almost all private campgrounds have convenience stores that serve their markets, and many dispense fuel and provide propane to both their campers and the public.
  • RV parks and campgrounds provide safe accommodations for families, many of whom rely on a secure place to park their RV for the night or for the season.
  • There is also an active population of RVers that travel full-time and rely on campgrounds for accommodations.
  • Our partners in the RV industry are advocating for RVs to serve as temporary quarantine quarters, as this situation continues, because they provide a safe, controlled environment. Campgrounds will be necessary for shelter in this scenario.
  • Many of our parks are sheltering people who have been displaced by this and other disasters.
  • RVers provide their own quarters, lessening the need for interaction with others.

As an association, PCOA is recommending the following steps to all campgrounds to mitigate risks of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Step up cleaning and sanitizing procedures for bathhouses, cabins, all publicly accessible facilities, recreation amenities, and provide many hand sanitizers throughout these facilities
  • Take extra care on the surfaces predominantly touched such as doorknobs, light switches, appliances, electronics, phones, utensils…etc.
  • Consider having enough cash and change on hand to deal with a bank closure for an extended period.
  • Consider carrying extra items such as bleach, toilet paper, food service items, and other basic things we use daily.
  • Take stock of small maintenance replacement items in case something breaks, and local hardware stores are closed for an extended period.
  • Perhaps look at a more lenient sick leave policy to encourage staff to stay home while this threat is active.
  • Provide staff additional time for hand washing, hand sanitizer, cleaning phones, and other high-frequency use items.
  • Think about a more lenient cancellation policy while there is an active threat.
  • Perhaps encourage prepayment, so there is no exchange of items and less risk of transferring the virus. Or, instate a temporary “at site” check-in option or delivery service for store items so worried customers don’t have to come in your office or store.
  • Consider canceling group activities where people congregate in one place and add more activities such as scavenger hunts where people do not have to be near each other or staff for extended periods of time.

To contact PCOA call (610) 767-5026 or email [email protected]

South Dakota

This message was received by Mary Arlington, executive director of the South Dakota Campground Owners Association (SDCOA). 

The SDCOA wants campgrounds to be classified as “essential” businesses and we have worked at the state level to seek such a ruling. Now it’s been delegated to the county level, and this is just beginning to unfold.

We began communicating with members in late February and have done so with more frequency as the weeks have progressed.

We understand the need for local communities to ensure their medical infrastructure can handle the issues, and that essential businesses aren’t serving the public in a business-as-usual manner. This is a time to close playgrounds and rec halls, have guests self-distance themselves and implement cleaning practices that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Contact: [email protected] or (605) 593-1557

TEXAS

WOODALLSCM.com received this update today (March 23) from Brian Schaeffer, the executive director and president of the Texas Association of Campground Owners. 

Private parks are all open and doing pretty well. We started surveying them last week and the majority are seeing reservations that are flat to down 5%. We had a couple of parks report increase and one said they were down just over 10%. Overall, this is great news.

Our governor is taking a different tact than many around the country and is not in favor of shutting down the state. We’ve had about 9,000 people tested and less than 400 were positive.

Campgrounds here are considered essential services due largely to the number of monthly guests we have in parks and displacing those folks serves no purpose at all, especially if for example, they are a health care provider working in town for a six-month rotation.

To contact TACO call (877) 518-1989 or email [email protected]

VIRGINIA

Update: Virginia campgrounds are currently falling under lodging and can remain open. The health department is creating a guideline for campgrounds that Emily Peck, executive director of the Virginia Campground Association (VCA), hopes they will have to the association within a week.

Peck told WOODALLSCM.com that the association is closely monitoring surrounding states and in contact with other state execs, ARVC, and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association (VRLTA).

“I am currently drafting a letter to send to the governor’s office with reasons why campgrounds are essential,” noted Peck. “VRLTA has already been in contact with them stating that all lodging, including campgrounds, should remain open and some private parks are sending letters as well.”

To contact VCA call (703) 291-0657.