The following statement was provided by the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association on Saturday afternoon. The group represents privately owned RV parks, not public campgrounds.
On Friday March 20th at 8:35 PM the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) 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 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 congregation of guests. If they are open, campgrounds 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 rest rooms 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.
CAMPGROUND MANAGEMENT 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 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 well-being 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.