By Russ and Tiña De Maris
There’s been plenty of confusion about the status of RV parks in California. With new restrictions being put in place, folks are wondering – are you locked out of RV parks in the Golden State? Are RV parks even allowed to be open? Here’s the latest information from CampCALNow, a statewide association supporting RV park and campground owners.
Restrictions must be triggered
First, closures or restrictions on private RV parks kick in ONLY when a certain COVID-19 threshold is met in the region where a park is located. That threshold is considered met when that region first falls below 15% ICU bed availability. That triggers a Regional Stay Home Order, and some RV parks would then be obliged to close down. But there’s an out – much depends on whether or not an RV park is a “Special Occupancy Park.”
Many privately owned RV parks can meet the state’s definition of an essential business and thus stay open as a “special occupancy park.” What makes an RV park one that has “special occupancy” status? For many, it’s having tenants who are staying on for more than two weeks. Lacking that, an RV park gains the status if they support “essential workers.”
So what’s an “essential worker?” A few possibilities include power company linemen, who may be working in the immediate area or are on the way to or from a job assignment. Also included are traveling medical personnel working in the area or headed that way. There are other job classifications that are “essential” by government definition and those workers, likewise when needing a place to stay in an RV park, fit the need.
Another class of folks that are supported by “special occupancy parks” are full-time RVers who don’t have a place to go and thus need shelter. They don’t need to stay for two weeks.
If an RV park provides service to any of these types of folks, then it meets the criteria of a “special occupancy park” and can remain open. Dyana Kelley, the president and CEO of CampCALNow, says somewhere around 90% to 95% of her organization’s park members meet the definition, and thus can remain open.
Who else can get in?
Just because a park is still open as a special occupancy park doesn’t mean just any RVer can roll up to the gate and spend the night. If you’re an “essential worker” then, yes, you can get in. If you’re looking to spend AT LEAST 14 days in the park, good enough. But what if you don’t meet those criteria? You may be able to stay at a given park, provided you sign a waiver indicating you meet one of these other criteria:
- Needing to self-isolate or quarantine
- Unable to stay in your own home due to COVID-related issues
- Traveling to care for a vulnerable person
- Domestic services such as shopping, laundry, or gas
- For essential outdoor recreation close to home [Editor’s note: Seems a bit vague, huh?]
- Government services such as post office, courthouse, DMV
- To express political views in groups of 10 or less – in-car protests are allowable
As we mentioned, park restrictions only come into play when a Stay Home Order is in place for a given region. California is divided into five regions, and as of earlier this week only two regions, Southern California and the San Joaquin, were under Stay Home Orders. Of course, the situation can change in a wink. Here’s a link to where you can get current information on Stay Home Order status for any region in the state.
In California are you locked out of RV parks? At this time, a broad chunk of the state is wide open, and not under restrictions. Even for those areas where COVID-19 is raising Cain, you still may be able to stay in an RV park, provided you meet the qualifications.