RV Coronavirus News Update, March 23, 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.

Thank you to all the RV Travel Readers who have sent us information, much of which we have included here. We have been working so fast organizing this update that we did not have time to thank you all. So thank you! (You know who you are.)

Read yesterdays extensive news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and how it’s affecting RVers.

RV manufacturers have offered to donate RVs to help hospital and other providers combat the growing pandemic. The RV Industry Association (RVIA) says it will donate RVs for use in the most critical health care settings in the country. “Now, when our national needs are great, RV Industry Association members, in conjunction with the RV Dealers Association, plan to proactively donate RVs to the most critical health care settings in the country,” said RVIA president Craig Kirby.

California’s Joshua Tree National Park officials announced on Saturday that all park roads will be closed to vehicles. Campgrounds will also be closed indefinitely. The park will remain open to bicyclists and hikers.

Oregon governor Kate Brown is imploring Oregonians to stop crowding public spaces, including beaches, during spring break because of concerns about spreading the novel coronavirus. Tillamook Mayor Suzanne Weber echoes the governor’s message. “The COVID-19 pandemic is not just an opportunity for a traveling vacation,” she said in a video message. “It’s a threat to our very lives.”

UPDATE: Later, after throngs of people flocked to trails and beaches this weekend despite Gov. Brown’s repeated calls for residents to stay at home, the entire Oregon State Parks system is closing to the public. Starting at 5 p.m. today (Monday), visitors will no longer be able to access day-use areas, which includes parking areas and restrooms. The closure is expected to last until at least May 8.

State-owned campgrounds across Washington state will close starting today and remain closed through April 30, the state announced Sunday. No new campers will be allowed into Parks, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, or DNR lands beginning Monday, March 23. Current campers will be phased out following instructions from land officials. Day-use areas and trails remain open, despite heavy crowds all weekend long.

ABOVE: We spotted this on the Maine Good Sam Facebook group. Good idea, but too bad it won’t work! Not sure who posted this, but thanks for the laugh.

Florida State Parks released an updated list of closures on Saturday, including all of the state’s beach parks. Following the Governor’s direction and CDC guidance, the department is closing state beach parks as crowds continue to gather in large groups along the beaches of Florida. While these beach parks will be closed, there are many other state parks currently open for day-use recreation, including hiking and biking. Check the status of individual Florida State Parks.

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has announced that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will temporarily suspend the collection of all entrance fees until further notice. Updates about the BLM response to the coronavirus will be posted on www.blm.gov.

Thousand Trails has waived some of its restrictions on how long some of its members can stay at one park before moving to another.

From Brian Gant on our RV Coronavirus Facebook Group: “Warrenton, Oregon, has shut down all transient lodging, including RV parks (private and public). Tillamook County has done the same, exempting people with 30+ days reservations.”

BC Parks (British Columbia) is closing all its campgrounds until at least the end of April. Most of the parks will be open for day hikes and recreation, although washrooms and day-use facilities, along with some other services, will be shuttered.


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


National Guard troops have been activated in the three states hit hardest with the coronavirus — New York, California and Washington. So don’t be surprised if you see troops there. They will assist in stopping the virus, but the deployment of the National Guard is not “martial law.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has suspended campground operations at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, effective immediately. A reopening date has not been determined.

All visitor centers and campgrounds in the Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District are temporarily closing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The campgrounds, which include both Lake Ouachita and DeGray Lake, will close today.

The Northwest Florida Water Management District is closing all its designated campgrounds on the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system for a minimum of 30 days beginning today, March 23, at 10 a.m. Also, permits for camping after Monday, March 23. will be canceled. On areas where it is currently allowed, dispersed wilderness camping (camping outside of designated campgrounds or where no permit is required) will continue to be allowed, but only for groups of less than 10 people.

The Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina will close its campgrounds and several recreation areas, effective immediately. The Elmwood and Honey Hill campgrounds are also shut down to the public.

REMINDER: Beginning today, the Florida Keys is now off limits to RV visits. Ditto all campgrounds in Yosemite National Park.


WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT MORE THAN EVER
RVtravel.com is working overtime to bring you the news about how the current pandemic is affecting the lives of RVers. In the meantime, some of our advertisers have stopped their campaigns due to necessity. It’s more important than ever that our readers help us with their financial pledges, no matter how modest. Won’t you please support our efforts by becoming a voluntary subscriber? UPDATE FROM THE EDITOR: If you are being hit financially by what’s going on, please take care of yourself: don’t worry about us. But if you are okay, we could use some help.

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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Nels
5 months ago

Why are the people of some states so slow to react to this pandemic that is affecting the enture world? Why are state governments in the most severely affected areas waiting to close public areas? Do they think thst they alone are immune to a virus that is deadly enough to kill millions of people?

DW/ND
5 months ago

I suspect closing campgrounds, especially state and government parks is a liability and sanitation issue. Turn on your Tv and count how many legal ads there are – and then think about what they’ll be advertising a year or two from now! The sanitation issue is difficult without staff to sterilize everything and locking facilities would only lead to serious sanitation problems. I might also add the security issue as a concern – the way some people are advancing to panic over this pandemic.

ToolMan
5 months ago

The Smokie Mountain National park is closing campgrounds as well. Got notice my reservation is cancelled, refund being processed.

PennyPA
5 months ago

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE FIND OUT WHY THOSE IN POWER ARE CLOSING CAMPGROUNDS??? This is so stupid!! RVers are the original “Don’t roam; stay at home” people! Their home is just an RV. I can understand closing parks to newcomers as this discourages spreading the virus but to close them completely…and chasing those already there, out…goes beyond common sense. Where are full-timers supposed to go?

Tommy Molnar
5 months ago

I don’t understand how the BLM discontinuing fee collection helps “fight the virus”.

Here on Plamose road in Quartzsite, when we pulled in last Friday there was no ‘volunteer’ permit writer. And, we see several people camped out in what’s considered “Day Use” area. No big deal because those areas are just across a line of sagebrush and no different than the regular camping areas. Never could understand that distinction anyway. Not sure what’s going on over on the LTVA area. Hi Jolly looked to still be packed, as usual.

Mike
5 months ago

It would be helpful to distinguish between a campground closing : no new guests or closing:everyone get out now, if possible.

Tom
5 months ago

Keep this newsletter alive! Please become a volunteer subscriber. If you RV, you need this information. Always informative. And sometimes entertaining.