b'COVID -19 Crisis BY BEN QUIGGLEARVC, State Associations Take on Key Roles as SectorPushes to Keep Parks Open Amid COVID-19 CrisisAsthecalendarturnedto2020,many park owners in the RV park andcampground sectors focused on an-other expected solid year of growth.Thepastfewyearshavedrivencampers into private campgrounds inunprecedentednumbers. WhileRVshipments had dipped in 2019, manyanalysts in the RV industry were ex-pecting things to even out there aswell, with more than 400,000 units ex-pected to be shipped in 2020, accord-ing to the RV Industry Association(RVIA).But then the coronavirus (COVID-19) hit.News of the virus first emerged inlateDecember,butitwasntuntilmid-January that the national mediabegantoaggressivelycoverit. TheU.S. on Jan 21 experienced its firstconfirmed case of the virus in Wash-ington state, and it would take an-othermonthbeforewordwasreceived on Feb. 29 of the first death,according to various news sources.Still,byearlyMarch,thevirushadnt impacted the daily life of mostU.S. citizens. That held until March 12whenmajorsportingagencies,in- ARVC Senior Director of State Relations Jeff Simms (L) and past ARVC boardcluding the NBA, began canceling or chairman Al Johnson.postponingseasons.OnMarch13,President Donald Trump declared anational emergency. In late February, we posted our role parks play in housing traveling abama Association of RV Parks andSince that point, many RV park and first communique on our blog about workers, full-time RVers, and provid- Campgrounds,hastakenasimilarcampgroundownershavebeen what COVID-19 is and how park own- ingotheressentialservicestothe tack. He notes thatscrambling to understand how this ers can protect themselves, their em- communities in which they operate. in times of disaster,virus is going to impact their busi- ployees and their campers. As things RVsareregularlynesses. started to develop and we started ad- usedbyfederal,Fornorthernparkownerswho vocating, knowing that this was going state and local enti-were preparing to open for the sea- toaffectourmembersacrossthe tiestoserveinason, they were left wondering when country, and the small business own- host of functions.they could open, what opening their ersthatownandoperatethem, FloridasRV Bobby Cornwellparkswouldlooklike,andifthey COVID-19 became our No. 1 focus at parksprovideim-would see a dip in business. Southern that point, Bambei said. That has portant lodging and housing needspark owners who were already open continued to be the case, and it will for critical infrastructure workers dur-begantoinitiatenewpolicieson continue to be until we all get through ing these times of need and are im-cleaning procedures and social dis- this. portant layover points for the generaltancing, all while trying to ensure they For many state association leaders, public as they travel to their principalcould remain open among the slew of the COVID-19 crisis has led to long California has over 1,100 private residence or shelter in place in re-orders coming from federal, state and hours and a flurry of constant emails. campgrounds and RV parks that col- sponse to various emergency orders,local governments. AfterTrumpdeclaredthenational lectively have over 100,000 campsites, Cornwell explained.emergency, more states began imple- many of which are ARVC, for its part, is doing all it canmentingpoliciesthatclosed usedbyfull-time to support state associations and RVnonessentialbusinesses,leaving RVers, Kelley said. park and campground owners, notedmany association leaders to scramble These parks, which Bambei.to ensure private campgrounds and provide water, elec- We have been on daily phone callsRV parks were listed as essential busi- tricity, sewer and, in withourpartnersatRVIAandthenesses. most cases, LP gas Recreational Vehicle Dealers Associ-Atemporaryclosureofparksin services, cannot be ation (RVDA), and it has been fantas-Paul Bambei, CEO and president of Pennsylvaniawasquicklyreversed Dyana Kelley allowed to close for ticworkingwithalltheleadersatthe National Association of RV Parks thanks to the efforts of the Pennsylva- healthandsafetyreasonsbecause thosetwoorganizations,heex-andCampgrounds (ARVC),told niaCampgroundOwnersAssocia- many of the people staying at these plained. We have agreed to put up aWoodalls Campground Management tion (PCOA).InNewYork,the parks are sheltering in place and have unitedfrontineverythingwedo,(WCM) that ARVC began to monitor CampgroundOwnersofNew York no place else to go. The last thing we whetheritscommunication,advo-the outbreak of COVID-19 from its (CONY)wasabletosecureprivate need right now is to have a humani- cacy or marketing, and that has beenearliest stages. parks and campgrounds an essen- tarian crisis on wheels.healthy for the industry.We saw it on the tial designation as well. Bambei highlighted the associationsnews like everyone Some states left those decisions in role with the RV Act letter campaign,else did but working the hands of local leaders, as in in Cal- which aims to give individuals a voicewith our advocates ifornia and Colorado, leaving associ- at the federal, state and local levels.in Washington D.C., ation leaders the task of writing letters It is a straightforward process forandwiththeOut- and advocating for campground own- ownerswheretheyentertheirzipPaul Bambei doorRecreation ers at the local level. code, check off all the actual officialsRoundtable (ORR), Dyana Kelley, president and CEO by name that they want that letter tothe process of how we would tackle oftheCampCalNOWRVParkand BobbyCornwell,presidentand go to, and then they hit submit andthiscrisisbeganearlyon,heex- CampgroundAlliance (CampCal- CEO of the Florida Association of RV out it goes, he explained.plained. NOW),hascontinuallytoutedthe Parks and Campgrounds and the Al- ARVC & State Associationscontinued on page 2220 -May 2020Woodalls Campground Management'