The desire for a return to normal life is a cry that can be heard around the world, especially for small businesses. A new federal plan to restart the country could be a breath of fresh air for RV parks and campground owners who depend on visitors to stay financially afloat in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s currently shattering lives and keeping the country on lockdown, while facing its worst economic devastation since the Great Depression.
We’re talking about the plan of “Opening Up America Again.” An ambitious guideline revealed by President Donald Trump last week that tells businesses, like gyms and restaurants, they can open their doors as early as May 1st (based on their local situation).
In a nutshell, the White House guidelines have three stages, each of them must be followed carefully and be preceded by specific criteria, measured on a case-by-case level that takes into account the spreading of COVID-19 in their communities and their hospital capacity.
Some of the criteria emphasized by the guidelines state that the decision of opening up for business again must be based on up-to-date data and readiness, including the ability to mitigate the risk of a resurgence and continuing to protect the most vulnerable. It can be implemented “state-wide” or county by county. Each governor would make that decision based on their health agencies or expert assessments on each situation.
While the guidance puts pressure on state and local governments to loosen up their restrictions on their lockdown measures, it also warns them to follow health expert’s advice, including those of the Centers for Prevention and Control of Diseases (CDC).
It includes following rigorous procedures to ensure all necessary measures are taken to identify circumstances that would jeopardize the process and to allow the safest return to work for thousands of employees.
The guidelines mention measures like the ability to set up efficient screening and testing sites for people with symptoms of the Coronavirus and tracing individual contacts, depending on test results.
State health authorities must be vigilant, and put in place surveillance sites for asymptomatic cases of the virus and ensure their sites can operate at locations with easy access for the elderly, lower-income families, racial minorities, and Native Americans (per the White House guidelines).
Once all this is over, happy campers everywhere (that feel safe and secure, with the perception that the Coronavirus cannot touch them while enjoying the beautiful outdoors) will be eager to come back to your campground or RV park!
The first phase of the opening mentions that vulnerable people must continue to shelter, while those who live with them must be aware of it and keep up their hygiene and “social distance” at all times.
Guidelines also continue to recommend avoiding socializing in groups of more than 10 people. Campground and RV parks must ensure that their visitors follow this guidance and should remind their campers of this via email or social media. As stated in our guide to handling the Coronavirus Pandemic, campgrounds should manipulate booking flow to limit the number of campers staying at once.
A point of interest for campground owners and managers is that the guidelines still call for people in public places, like parks, recreation areas, etc. to respect social distancing as well.
“Social settings of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed,” states the federal document. “Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines.”
While calling on employers to encourage working from home, it also suggests the returning of employees in phases, and accommodation for those workers considered as vulnerable.
Phases two & three
By the second phase, things get a little more relaxed, as places of worship, theaters, and bars will be able to open, always following stricter CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
By the third phase, every business should be able to open and regain their regular levels of normalcy, while keeping up to date with the current situation in their communities.
The “Opening Up America Again” guidelines don’t mention campgrounds and RV parks per se, but it’s clear that the rules of keeping clean facilities, enhancing hygiene measures and all the other requirements to keep the “invisible enemy” at bay also apply to ensure that campers are safe!
Now that we know what’s to come, sit back, relax, and take advantage of each and every one of the Coronavirus relief deals to help small businesses during this trying time.
It may be worth mentioning that while everyone under quarantine probably feels desperate for a puff of fresh campground air (at least anyone who’s reading this would), many still fear that relaxing the lockdown and the stay-at-home-measures would be, for the decision-makers, like choosing the lesser between two evils: either leave the US economy to fall to its knees or potentially threaten American lives…so owners, continue to stay empathetic and patient during all of this.
As we continue to work together as a society to move past this epidemic and finally get back to our normal lives, let’s continue to remain strong, vigilant, and compassionate, while following the guidance of scientists and our state officials. Before we know it, our camping industry will be booming again!