As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, RV manufacturers and industry organizations are fighting to maintain the recent growth and stability of the RV industry. Notable campground associations are also doing their part against coronavirus to make sure RVers have a place to take their RVs, both for service and as a rolling retreat for self quarantining and flattening the curve.
RV industry giants like Thor and Winnebago had taken steps recommended by the CDC to protect their workforce, before recently halting production. Truma Corporation, well-known in industry circles for their RV heating and cooling solutions, already has some experience with the current CDC mandates through their team in China and is strongly implementing them in the U.S.
The Recreational Vehicle Association or RVIA as it is known, has been working diligently with the United States Congress to have the RV industry included in any economic stimulus packages. Working closely with the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC), and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), the RVIA is pushing hard for inclusion in the $1-trillion third stage stimulus package.
In addition to their help in the congressional realm, ARVC has launched a series of emergency webinars to help campground owners and operators manage the current health situation. The webinars will provide tools and strategies from industry experts to help campgrounds get through this crisis. ARVC was recently part of a larger initiative that helped reverse a decision in several states intent on closing campgrounds. Again, along with the RVIA, RVDA and others, Florida, New York, California, and Pennsylvania all opted to keep campgrounds open as an essential service.
State campground associations are doing their part as well. Two of the largest campground associations, the Pennsylvania Recreational Vehicle and Camping Association (PRVCA) and the Florida Recreational Vehicle Trade Association (FRVTA) are both pushing back at the state and national levels. The PRVCA, along with the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association have been fighting to keep campgrounds open. Together they have pleaded with government entities to support campgrounds, even in the face of lockdowns and shutdowns.
Aided by KOA and ARVC, the PRVCA and PCOA argue that campgrounds serve a multitude of needs during this COVID-19 crisis. In addition to the obvious effects of social distancing and quarantining, campgrounds are a natural solution to the shelter in place mandate and dually support local campground businesses. Campgrounds also serve their local market with fuel, propane, and a few essential groceries. For the one-million or more full-time RVers, campgrounds are vital to have a landing place to camp, replenish supplies, and take care of RV necessities such as dumping tanks and refilling water resources.
The Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association has been busy as well. Working with many of the groups previously mentioned, the RVDA helped push a letter to the governors of all fifty states strongly urging them to recognize the RV industry and campgrounds as essential businesses. The letter also reminded the governors that the $114-billion RV industry is often called upon to provide RVs for “local command centers, portable offices, temporary housing and other critical uses.”
Citing a recent purchase of 1,300 RV trailers by the state of California to use for emergency isolation cases, the letter goes on to say that RVs can serve as “mobile clinics, operating rooms, testing facilities, medical providers’ sleeping quarters, laundry facilities, quarantine units or vending, and kitchens.”
The RVDA, along with many RV dealers argue that RV dealerships must be exempt from a mandatory close order to be able to perform RV repairs and service for those whom their RV is their home. If a sticks and bricks homeowner is allowed to have a plumber or electrician make emergency repairs to their home, an RV owner must be allowed the same if the RV is their current residence, whether by choice or circumstance. While many are also fighting to keep the sales portion of the dealership open, most are losing that battle.
In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, the RVIA pledged “to donate 20 RVs to the most critical health care settings in the country, as determined by the Task Force; and….provide an additional 100 RVs, at below-market cost, to the settings deemed most critical by the Task Force.”
The private sector is getting involved as well. RV dealer, industry veteran, and RVACA founder Gigi Stetler recently pledged to supply RVs to healthcare workers and public servants through the non-profit RV Advisor Consumer Association’s coronavirus assistance fund.
While many RVers are seeing their state parks close, the National Park Service has vowed to keep as many of our national parks and resources open as possible. Choosing to modify operations to curtail the spread of COVID-19 rather than shut down parks completely, the NPS sets a standard that all states should follow, but few are. In addition to reemphasizing current coronavirus recommendations made by the CDC, the NPS will close visitor centers and other gathering places to prevent community spread. Of course, things can and do change rapidly as we have seen, so be sure and check with any park or destination you intend to visit for specific details and operation information.
It has been noted that RVing is not just a hobby for many, it’s a lifestyle. It’s clear that the industry as a whole is taking the preservation of that lifestyle very seriously.
See also: Here’s What Is Open And Closed Due To COVID-19
All around RV industry enthusiast who has been RVing for 8 years and enjoys trips with his wife and dogs in their diesel pusher.
Gary Marcondes says
IMHO, I this slow down may be good for the RV industry. Quality since the large corporations have gobbled up all the individual companies has gone down drastically. It’s time for these companies to pay more attention to quality and less on output.
Fulltimer for 6
Gary Marcondes says
IMHO, I think this slow down may be good for the RV industry. Quality since the large corporations have gobbled up all the individual companies has gone down drastically. It’s time for these companies to pay more attention to quality and less on output.
Fulltimer for 6
North Georgia RV'ers says
Full Timers should not be moving around, stay where they are and stop contributing to COVID-19 spreading. As a long time RV’er and an active RV’er it is my opinion that ALL RV PARKS SHOULD BE CLOSED, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it! The rules are for everyone including RV’ers and everyone, EVERYONE SHOULD follow the rules like decent and honorable people, not like a rebellious youth that says I’ll do what I want, when I want and I don’t have to go by someone else’s rules! That is the attitude of the majority of the millennial’s in our Country. Help fight the virus, don’t help it to spread! Stay at home, stay off the roads, don’t go visiting, it’s gonna take everyone, EVERYONE doing what it RIGHT to defeat this threat to our Country and our Citizens…..
Don Nedrow says
Were do YOU think the full-timers should go if they don’t have a stick and bricks place to go. Do they have to continue driving round with no place to stop?
Most RV Parks have a good distance apart. Most RVs have full facilities. They don’t need the restrooms etc.
Sam Crabtree says
North Georgia RV’ers – I think you didn’t consider all situations when you suggested that ALL RV parks be closed. Just where do you suggest that we, and other full timers, go? We have no “sticks-and-bricks” home. None. Our HOME is where we park it. And the laws in most jurisdictions, availability of water and electricity, all meke it physically impractical and illegall to stay anyplace except in an RV park (or on our own property if we have any and the law allows). At 85 years old with no pension, and I am not alone, his life is what I can afford. Your suggestion makes as much sense to me as shutting all utilities that serve residential properties.
How does this make any sense north georgia? You both want them to stay put and kick them out and send them down the road? You cant have it both ways. If the parks stay open then they can stay put.
John Olmstead says
For many of us, the RV is our home.
Jan K. says
I am quite puzzled by North Georgia RV’ers comment about how full time RVers shouldn’t be moving around and how ALL RV parks should be closed. As an honorable, mature, full time RVer who also happens to be a retired nurse anesthetist (CRNA) who is WELL aware of the importance of the US population to stay in one place. My husband and I, along with many full time RVers I have communicated with want nothing more than to stay in one place BUT how can a full time RVer do that when we are kicked out of private, state, city, county and national campgrounds? You can’t have it both ways North Georgia RVers. The more than 1 million full time RVers should not be rendered homeless because they have no place to park their rigs. Government entities at all levels have done a knee jerk reaction and kicked out the best tenants they could possibly have. At the same time, they are often allowing these parks to be open for day visitors to allow people to get out in the fresh air BUT THEY LOCK THE RESTROOMS!! This is a perfect set up for inappropriate behaviors and unsanitary conditions to prevail. I would invite you to please contact your local, state and national legislators and point out that locking full time RVers out of parks is contributing to a 1,000,000 person humanitarian crisis. I would also invite you to get to know your fellow RVers who happen to be a generation or two younger than yourself. I have found them to be pretty amazing, kind, generous and very responsible.Thank you.
RV'er in NC says
North Ga RV’er
I think you are missing the point here. It’s not to allow RV’ers the freedom of movement but to keep RV’ers from being kicked out when many are full time families, couples and singles. If all the campgrounds are closed, where do they go? Should they pitch a tent in the woods? Many have no other home and some that do have other homes are hundreds/thousands of miles from home, of which many are elderly. Should they shelter in place or treck the long ride home with limited available campgrounds? What about the nurses, doctors and others deployed to hard hit areas working temporarily in areas far from home? Would you rather they stay in a hotel or campground if they had the choice?
If we are “closing everything, period” we might as well close the hospitals too if we follow that logic. Social distancing is much easier in a campground than a hotel provided pools and places where people gather are closed. Pls keep campgrounds open during this time of crisis.
Donald Chesler says
Something else to consider, after a while, “Cabin Fever” kicks in. Campgrounds offer a safe alternative for families to get out of their homes, doing something healthy both physically and mentally all the while being able to maintain social distancing. Families need alternatives, right now, I suspect half the people you see at Walmart or Lowes are really just escaping from their houses.