RV Coronavirus News Update, March 20, 2020

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Please send your news about the coronavirus pandemic as it applies to RVers to editor@rvtravel or submit it here.

All Yosemite campgrounds are closed through at least March 31, 2020. This includes Upper Pines, Camp 4 and Hodgdon Meadow campgrounds. Any reservations for Upper Pines between now and March 31 have been cancelled and fully refunded. No new reservations are being allowed for any Yosemite campground between April 1 and May 31.

Pleasure-Way Industries, located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is temporarily suspending all production until April 1. The company makes Class B motorhomes.

Oregon is gradually closing campgrounds across the state in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19. Current campers are being allowed a grace period before needing to leave. After April 2, all state campgrounds will be completely closed. That decision remains in place until May 8. Beaches, trails, roads and parks remain open for day-use.

Swiftwater RV Park in White Bird, Idaho, has closed through April 12. It is accepting reservations for May camping at 208-839-2700.

There’s been a run on toilet paper as Americans hunker down and isolate themselves at home. Shelves are bare of toilet paper in many stores across the nation. But some people in Nebraska are finding toilet paper — and stealing it — at Interstate 80 rest stops. Some are staffed and some are not. As a result of the thefts, rest areas will be closed when an attendant is not present. The closures will be communicated to travelers through 511 information.

Northwood Investments, parent company to both Northwood Mfg. and Outdoors RV in LaGrande, Oregon, is extending its temporary plant closures by another week as all production will continue to be halted through March 27. The shutdowns are a proactive measure that was instituted March 16.

Parks Canada has temporarily suspended all visitor services in all national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas across the country until further notice. Closures include campgrounds.

Ontario, Canada, is closing provincial parks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks says it decided to shutter the parks until April 30 to protect the health of employees and visitors.

Reservations for stays at Corps of Engineer (COE) campgrounds in the Fort Worth District of Texas have been cancelled. Current campers there can stay for now.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is waiving the need for a state Recreation Passport for entry at state parks and other destinations for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. The DNR says state parks are a good place to pass some time while avoiding a dense crowd. Michigan State park campgrounds are still open. Toilet-shower buildings will be closed at modern campgrounds, but vault toilets at campgrounds, day-use areas and boating access sites will remain open.

The Florida Keys does not want short-term visits by RVers or other out-of-towners. “We’ve decided today to start to shut down the Keys to tourists,” Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers said Thursday.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is also waiving entry fees at all state, local and county parks. Ditto, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will not charge entry fees for entering its state parks and state wildlife areas until April 30.

California State Parks has temporarily closed all its campgrounds in the state park system. Non-campground outdoor areas including trails and beaches remain open.

ABOVE: Here’s the perfect way to say I love you to your special someone — a toilet paper bouquet. Blossoms and Events in Trumann, Arkansas, is selling this special gift for $75. Now, think about it, what’s a better gift to someone without TP than a few rolls, and some flowers to help the bathroom smell as fresh as a spring garden? Oh, but there’s bad news: the arrangement is only available in the local area.

Hoover Dam is temporarily closed to the public because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. A notice posted on the Bureau of Reclamation website says the dam, on the Arizona/Nevada border, including all visitor centers and tours, will be closed until further notice.

Parts of the Jackson County, Oregon, parks system have been shut down and some facilities will delay scheduled openings in an effort to minimize worker and visitor exposure to the coronavirus. Check with Jacksoncountyor.org for specific closures.


HOUSEHOLD & HAND SANITIZERS. If you’re concerned about keeping germs away, there are plenty of products here to do the job.


In Oregon, six campgrounds in the Siuslaw National Forest, near Sand Lake and the Oregon Dunes, were closed on Wednesday. The rest are being managed on a case-by-case basis.

The Willow Lake Campground and RV Park in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, opened yesterday, a month ahead of schedule for snowbirds and people with RVs going stir crazy at home while practicing social distancing and isolation to nix the spread of COVID-19. It said it would offer a “heavily discounted rate for any overnight campers.”

New Jersey officials announced that all state parks would remain open for “healthful passive recreation.” That means trails, lakes, open spaces, roads and parking areas will remain open in dozens of New Jersey’s state parks, forests, recreation areas and wildlife management areas. Campgrounds, visitor centers, nature centers, restrooms and other facilities will be closed.

The Coquille Tribal Council and the Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians Tribal council in Oregon will be closing down the Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park, and the Three Rivers Casinos respectively. The Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park will close for seven days on March 18. After the seven days, the Coquille Tribal Council will review the prevailing situation and reevaluate the status of the facility.

Hotels in Moab, Utah, will be closed to tourists for the next 30 days because of coronavirus. The measure applies to all overnight lodging in Grand, Carbon, and Emery counties. That includes RV parks, private campgrounds and private rentals, like Airbnb.

Ford and General Motors will suspend production at North American plants for two weeks. Honda and Toyota also announced today that they will temporarily halt U.S. production. Fiat Chrysler reportedly will begin a rolling shutdown of plants through the end of March, while Tesla will cut production at its California and New York plants. The Ford, GM, and Honda facilities will close until March 30. Subaru is shutting down its only U.S. plant starting on March 23 until March 29.

WinStar World Casino and Resort said its casino, all retail stores and casino restaurants will remain closed through March 31. It’s located on the Texas-Oklahoma border, about 70 miles north of Dallas. WinStar’s hotel, spa, RV park and golf club will stay open.

Minnesota State Parks, recreation areas, campgrounds and other public lands in the state remain open with some changes. State park visitor centers, contact stations and other ancillary buildings will be closed until further notice. Visitors will pay through self-pay and informational kiosks located at each facility. The DNR also encourages state park visitors to purchase daily and annual park passes through the online portal before they visit.

From CNN:
Have you received a dubious text message forwarded from a reliable friend, claiming to have inside knowledge about the coronavirus? You’re not alone. Efforts to provide the public with accurate and timely information are being undermined by the spread of medical misinformation and fake cures. Some of that is coming from pro-Kremlin media, which EU officials say are trying to sow “panic” in the West by waging a disinformation coronavirus campaign. And many misleading claims are circulating on WhatsApp, bringing the Facebook-owned company under renewed scrutiny.


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READ YESTERDAY’S NEWS

New Facebook Group: How the coronavirus is impacting RVers. Get updates throughout the day about park and campground closings, cancelled rallies and RV shows — and more. Join in the conversation with other RVers about what’s on all our minds right now.

If you are a member of an RV club or are affiliated with an RV-related event would you please let us know if its gatherings, meetings, etc., are cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus? We’ll pass along the info to our readers. We appreciate any news related to RVing that’s being affected by the virus. Please submit it here. Thank you!

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Ira S. Cohen
5 months ago

during this pandemic & closings, what are the Thousands of Fulltime Nomads to do? It seems there are No BLM or State Forests that are open, where are we to go?

C.Lee
5 months ago

I posted this under another heading before I saw this one. It’s probably more appropriate here, so sorry for re-posting…I mean no disrespect, nor to “clog” things up.

New Mexico closed state parks to overnighters a week ago Friday. Everyone, including Full Timers, mostly elderly, had 2 hours to move out. Reservations were cancelled, expensive yearly passes were invalidated. Nobody knew where to go since many of them had planned their next destination to be another state park. Basically, the decision rendered hundreds, it not a thousand or more statewide, homeless. New Mexico has a lot of state parks, and they have a lot of RV spaces.

Luckily, we were simply on vacation and had a home to go to.

What’s more, New Mexico’s state parks generally have plenty of space between sites. 30-40 feet or more. And plenty of open space all around. Where were elderly Full Timers forced to go? To crowded and cramped commercial RV parks with spaces 10 feet apart and generally NO open space. If they could find a space at all. Many likely traveled out of state. If they were sick, they took the disease with them.

New Mexico’s decision, if anything, created conditions more likely to spread disease, rather than prevent it.

Oh, and those yearly passes? They cost between $180 and $220 dollars, depending on residency. No refunds. So the double whammy for fixed income folks who planned their finances around them, and then had to pay for commercial sites, was likely immense.

P.S. I’ve brought this impact up to government officials involved, and the immediate response was that they simply don’t care. I understand they are likely swamped right now, but I really question the wisdom of throwing people out of safe spaces, particularly with 2 hours notice.

I for one will certainly never purchase a yearly pass again. Nor rely on a New Mexico State Park as a place for my RV.

Gary
5 months ago
Reply to  C.Lee

Don’t blame the State of New Mexico they are doing the right thing. They have no control over what is happening. And so what are “Full timers” exactly doing trying to live in our state parks. They are for temporary recreational use not full time living. I have a hard time getting in to some of our more popular parks due to people gaming the system. Use the parks for their intended purpose.

C.Lee
5 months ago
Reply to  Gary

Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. New Mexico created, offers, and collects the money for both resident and non-resident yearly passes, New Mexico instituted the 14 consecutive day camping limit per park which all campers must adhere to, and New Mexico decides whether to offer “first-come/first-serve” spaces in various state parks. Everyone, in state or out, must make their reservations through Reserve America, and pay those fees as well. Those are the rules all must follow. There is no “gaming” of the system the state created by following the rules the State of New Mexico created.

Richard Hubert
5 months ago

Many of us are being forced out of secure and remote areas by recent emergency orders to close parks and public lands – precisely the places which we as RVers are best suited to go to help fight the spread of this virus. Seems like State Park closures started with New Mexico, but have now spread to many other states. In at least NY, FL, NM and CA they are now prohibiting overnight camping, but yet allow Day use. This makes no sense at all in terms of social distancing, as many Day users I have seen tend to be larger groups. Whereas campers tend to be pretty well separated, and largely self-quarantined. Those in RVs are usually totally self-contained – certainly a lot more than apartment dwellers or even home owners. So why force people who are already socially distanced to leave their campsite and force them into more crowded living situations – such as an crowded RV (and probably already booked up) park or back home?

It seems these policies are not thought through, made by bureaucrats ignorant of camping or the RV lifestyle. RVers have the best capability to achieve precisely what is being promoted in ways to best contain the C-19 virus – stay at home and maintain social distancing. But we can only do that if there are places for us to go and do that. Sure – some can go of boondocking on many Federal lands still open, but many still rely on State and local lands and parks to do this.

Instead, government officials should be:

> Extending allowable stays (usually 2 week limit) in their parks to help support quarantine periods to help keep more people isolated and not moving around.
> Permit RVers (who are so equipped) to boondock on open spaces and parking lots, also with extended stays.
> Opening up more lands and open spaces for boondocking, and removing stay limits there as well.
> Encouraging people who have RVs to use them for more compliance with self-quarantine and stay-at-home orders by moving to more remote areas such as state parks and public lands.
> Enlist those camping to voluntarily assist in maintenance of their camping area through trash collection and basic road and site maintenance. The purpose of this is to allow campers who benefit from these rule changes to demonstrate and acknowledge their appreciation as well as take over some of the work that park personnel would have to do, relieving limited personnel of some workload. In some posts some RVers have already volunteered to help clean bathhouses in these parks as well if they are allowed extended stays during this crisis.

We need to contact officials and inform them how some of their emergency policies are increasing C-19 exposure by forcing people out of their parks. And to instruct them that the lands they control are actually part of the solution if they really want more social distancing and self-quarantines.

PennyPA
5 months ago

WHY, pray tell, are all these states closing campgrounds… even private ones???

Joe
5 months ago

I just got a call from the dealership that I purchased my motor home from that they are closing due to Pennsylvania Governor Wolf has closed down all non essential businesses.

Tommy Molnar
5 months ago

We stopped at the Chevron station in Tonopah, NV yesterday to fuel up. The pump receipt printer was out of paper so I headed to the store to get one. There were several people milling around outside. I just walked in (past the young man at thr door armed with a spray bottle of disinfectant, rubbers gloves, and paper towels). He announces my arrival to three ladies behind the counter (all wearing gloves) who quickly announce that I’ll have to wait outside because there are already two guys in the bathroom and I’ll have to wait – outside. I told them all I want is a receipt for number 12. And then I was given lessons on how to press the “Yes” button on the pump. I told the lady I listened to the printer chunking along, but no paper came out. She rolled her eyes and printed out a receipt for me. As more cars came in, more people were filling the waiting line for the head. We of course, drove down the street a bit, pulled over, and used OUR bathroom. I LOVE OUR RV!

Tommy Molnar
5 months ago

Finally! Some common sense, and from Michigan to boot. Campgrounds are OPEN to all. Showers and ‘modern facilities’ are closed but pit toilets are open. The other 49 states – TAKE NOTE!!!i

LiVan_Life
5 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Exactly what I just said to the DH. Many of my FT friends have been displaced over this crazy need to shut down cg. Can’t think of a better place to be. At least most of us Boondocker Welcome hosts are welcoming those still moving from one point to another.

Gman
5 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Michigan is not noted for anything these days I don’t think, so I guess the other 49 will not be heeding YOUR advice either silly rabbit!!

Gray
5 months ago

Wondering what to do with all that spare time whilst hunkering down in the RV, “social distancing” yourself during our moment of national disquietude? Be of good cheer! Just as World War II produced the heroic legions of “Rosie the Riveter” gals (and if you’re too young to know who that was, look it up!), we can now call upon our elderly ladies and their sewing machines: the new Millennium heroines, “Granny the Stitcher!”

At least one U.S. hospital system has put out an urgent call for home sewers to begin whipping out face masks, desperately needed to conserve their precious supply of N95 masks for more hazardous applications. So, unpack and dust off the sewing machine, start cutting up surplus sheets, and get stitching. Here’s the link to the instruction page:

https://www.deaconess.com/SpecialPages/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask?fbclid=IwAR1H25JhviFlqeBjj-LEwCUCGNf-PbJcst4fHxcnXOThUqoTk6CVQ8cuyRM

– – –
While we’re on the topic of old folks and ancient memories, recall that corn cobs were once a TP substitute when TP was never found in the little shack out back, and Mom wouldn’t surrender her Sears-Roebuck catalog for the purpose. If you find a supply of cobs (the red ones were preferred, for esthetic reasons) don’t flush them after use. They’ll clog the sewer line. Better to feed them down the garbage disposal; it’ll grind ’em up and they’ll make the journey to the municipal treatment plant just fine. So… no need to hoard the TP, right?
– – –

Tommy Molnar
5 months ago
Reply to  Gray

This is a joke. Right? I would NEVER put a corn cob down the ‘dispose-all’. Just put ‘crap cob’ in the trash and be done with it.

Gray
5 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Yes, it’s a joke… (sigh)

cee
5 months ago
Reply to  Gray

It seems folks are getting on the crazy train and have forgotten how to laugh. Of course it was a joke! Lighten up and remember to be smart, be safe & take care of each other (from a distance). Thanks Gray for the video on how to make a mask. It may not be an N95 but it’s better than going without if you have to go buy groceries or take your neighbor a meal.