RV Coronavirus News Update, May 10, 2020

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Dear Readers,
Hundreds if not thousands of campgrounds, public and private, are now open or are about to open. We have listed some of them here, but we don’t have nearly enough room to mention them all. If you’re looking for a place to camp in the coming weeks, check with your favorite park to learn its plans.

Camping with Cornhuskers? On May 20th Nebraska’s state parks will open camping at some select parks. The sticking points are parks that have enough social distancing and group-size recommendations can be maintained. Camping will be limited to seven days, and only eight people per site. Only self-contained RVs will be allowed, and by reservation only. Reservations open May 17 at outdoornebraska.org.

The ban on camping in Colorado State Parks that began six weeks ago has been extended until further notice by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

It might be a little easier to go to the dentist tomorrow in New Hampshire, but you’ll need to call your own dentist to be sure. Gov. Chris Sununu said Friday that dental offices can reopen if they follow certain guidelines developed by the American Dental Association and approved by the state. But the type of procedures that will be available will depend on the dentist. The ADA has recommended that dental offices postpone non-emergency procedures, but Sununu indicated that individual practices could make their own decisions, if they take adequate precautions.

Some private Michigan campgrounds are set to reopen on May 15 – and despite the heartache that the coronavirus pandemic has brought owners, there may be a bit of hope for what are mostly mom-and-pop operations. The state says it will not reopen its state-operated campgrounds until June 22, while U.S. Forest Service campgrounds are still closed with no reopen date set. Result – the pent-up demand for camping may find itself expressed in packing out privately run campgrounds, a potential (and much needed) windfall for owners.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District will reopen select campgrounds in Arkansas at Lake Ouachita, Lake Greeson and DeGray Lake beginning May 20. Campgrounds to reopen at Lake Ouachita include Brady Mountain, Crystal Springs, Joplin, Tompkins Bend, Denby Point, Stephens Park, Twin Creek, Little Fir, Big Fir, Washita, Irons Fork, Avant, Buckville, Rabbit Tail and Cedar Fourche, the Corps of Engineers said in a news release Friday night.


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Camping in Idaho’s state parks looks like it may reopen at the end of the month. May 30 will mark the day if the current state reopening plan moves along. An earlier plan showed May 15 as the big reopener, but that was pushed off. State officials say they’re taking the time to prepare for visits by adding personal protective equipment for workers. Be glad your RV is self-contained – when things do break loose, showers will not initially be available, as recommended sanitation standards under COVID-19 make them too difficult to clean.

This Memorial Day weekend promises to be one of many busy weekends in Utah’s Dixie National Forest with most campgrounds, picnic areas, roads and trails opening May 22.

The number of coronavirus cases increased by 28 Saturday in Elkhart County, Indiana, where 85 percent of all American RVs are manufactured, according to information on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website. Two more deaths were also recorded, bringing that toll to 18. The total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in Elkhart County was 436 on Saturday, up from 410 the day before.

Before you post something you find questionable or outrageous on social media, check to see if it’s true or just fake news. Check with FactCheck.org and/or Snopes.com.

Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah) threw open the gates to visitors last Wednesday (May 6). All viewpoints up to and including Rainbow Point were made accessible. However, visitors should be prepared for some discomforts: The only restrooms open in the park are at Sunset Point. Don’t expect much in the way of “interpretation,” as the visitor center remains closed, as do all campgrounds and concessions.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers extended its closure of 25 campgrounds within the Cumberland River Basin in Kentucky and Tennessee through at least May 31.

The country’s top visited National Park – Great Smoky Mountains – began a phased-in reopening yesterday. Roads and trails are now open; two weeks from now campgrounds, picnicking, and visitor centers will welcome visitors.

Friday marked the first day of lawful camping in Arkansas state parks. If DeGray Lake State Park in Bismark is any indicator, many residents will soon head out to their favorite campground. All 82 sites at the resort immediately booked up. Park rangers turned out to ensure campers paid heed to social distancing.

ABOVE: State Park Peace Officer (SPPO) Lifeguards at Bolsa Chica Lifeguard Headquarters Office pose for photo to educate visitors on how to properly maintain a 6-foot physical distance from each other and to actively recreate while at the parks and beaches in Orange County, California.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Park campgrounds will be closed Memorial Day weekend. According to the DEC website: “All state-operated campgrounds, cabins, pavilions, and cottages are closed to visitation through May 31. All visitors with reservations will be issued a full refund.”

From the Oregon Dept of Forestry: “Due to safety hazards caused by sanitation issues, dispersed camping in Oregon state forests is closed as of Monday, May 11. Problems with trash and human waste accumulation have become insurmountable.”
 

Worried New Hampshire residents didn’t get everything they wanted when they called for the state to shut down campgrounds out of COVID-19 fears. The state now says campgrounds can be open, but only at half-capacity, and out-of-staters can’t come unless they have a private membership. Some found it strange, too, when the state declared restaurants can seat customers outside for dining come May 18 – but here, too, only state residents can eat.

Linn County, New York, parks and campgrounds have begun opening and nearly all should be open and operating with some restrictions by Memorial Day.

Quick Poll


While Indiana RV manufacturers are eager to get their plants back open and rigs rolling down the line, some wonder how line workers can be kept safe from coronavirus. Here’s a list of a few suggestions that the RV Industry Association and the RV Indiana Council made to the state’s governor: Put up hand sanitizing stations. Make employees take temperature checks when entering the plant. Put oversize “sneeze guards” between work stations, or provide them with personal protective equipment. Also on the list: sanitizing tools, and daily workstation disinfecting.

California’s Pinnacles National Park is closed to all day-use visitors and vehicular traffic but the campground is open for visitors with reservations.

Texas State Parks are set to resume overnight camping starting May 18 for visitors with existing reservations, but it will be limited, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. “This gradual reopening of overnight reservations will be limited at all Texas State Parks to varying degrees depending on individual park occupancy in order to align with safe business practices currently followed in Texas,” a news release from the department noted. Texas closed its state parks in early April to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. On April 20, parks in the state were allowed to reopen, although some didn’t open immediately due to local conditions.

Canadians are just like Americans – more-than-ready to go camping. Last Monday, Manitoba opened its provincial campground reservation website at 7 a.m. One couple each used a separate computer to try and book a camping site. She logged in at 7 to find 2,500 people in the virtual line ahead of her. It took him 35 more minutes just to get logged onto the site, and by that time he found himself about 7,000th in position. It took three more hours before the couple was able to book sites. The province says at 11 a.m., 9,614 reservations had been made – 1,060 more than last year.

Pechanga Resort Casino near Temecula, California, announced on Wednesday that it had reopened its RV resort the day before with a limited number of spaces and stringent regulations in place including the requirement guests wear face coverings when outside their RVs.

City of Grand Haven on Facebook

Folks in Grand Haven, Michigan, were rejoicing as restrictions were lifted, and the Grand Haven State Park was reopened to public use. All was well until last Saturday, when officials noted with no small amount of alarm that “a large number of visitors” ignored social distancing guidelines. Result? On Sunday vehicle use of the park was shut down, including use of the campground. Access for camping and non-pedestrian activity is gone “until further notice.”

On May 5, access reopened in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park to overnight stays in Cedar Mesa campground and in Cathedral Valley campground.


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Other Coronavirus News

Nevada has allowed restaurants, salons and other non-essential businesses to open as of yesterday.

Roy Horn in 2003 before he was mauled by a white tiger.

Roy Horn, one-half of the popular Las Vegas animal and magic act Siegfried and Roy, died Friday of complications from the coronavirus. He was 75.

CDC Director Robert Redfield has entered self-quarantining after being exposed to someone at the White House who had tested positive for COVID-19.

California will have a budget shortfall of $54.3 billion because of the economic devastation from the coronavirus, the deficit so large it will swallow the state’s reserves.

Hawaii authorities are cracking down on rogue tourists who are visiting beaches, riding personal watercraft, shopping and generally flouting strict requirements that they quarantine for 14 days after arriving.

• U.S. officials say fewer illegal immigrants are trying to enter the country from Mexico amid new enforcement rules imposed in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

• The coronavirus outbreak may have thrown millions onto unemployment rolls and shut down businesses across the nation, but people still need pickup trucks for their jobs. Sales of trucks in the United States have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels.

• The Defense Department has begun barring the enlistment of would-be military recruits who have been hospitalized for the coronavirus unless they get a special medical waiver.

• Authorities in Oklahoma say three McDonald’s employees suffered gunshot wounds when a woman opened fire because she was angry that the restaurant’s sit-down dining area was closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

• As many as 100,000 retail outlets are likely to close in the next five years, UBS research analysts have suggested. Some long-established retail names may never recover from the pandemic: The Gap, the San Francisco clothing chain that owns Old Navy and Banana Republic, said it expects to shutter some locations permanently, while J.C. Penney skipped paying interest on bonds last month – the first step toward a bankruptcy filing.

• As people across the globe stay home, the air has cleaned up. In New Delhi, India, one of the most polluted cities in the world, residents are enjoying views of sights not visible in decades. Nitrogen dioxide pollution in the northeastern United States is down 30 percent. Rome air pollution levels from mid-March to mid-April were down almost half from a year ago. “It is giving us this quite extraordinary insight into just how much of a mess we humans are making of our beautiful planet,” says conservation scientist Stuart Pimm of Duke University.


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A message of hope from former President George W. Bush

We posted this last week, but it was so popular we are showing it to you again. Put your politics aside for a moment and listen to this short message from the former President.


ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:
Day Two without sports: “Found a young lady sitting on my couch yesterday. Apparently she’s my wife. She seems nice.”


HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this short video shows you the most effective way to wash your hands to get rid of germs.


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.

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Jeff Becker

I am so happy for the new editor. Have been
Following you for years. Even college!
We are in Florida west coast. If ever we can
Be if assistance to you just let me know.
Your dad must be getting tired of Arizona!

Max Shaver Jr

Folks, let not your minds be troubled, this to shall pass ! By the Second Week of NOVEMBER I’d guess ! Then much bigger news stories of Soft Coups, and Generally Anguish, and Disbelief, will once again fill the Airwaves, and life will once again be back to NORMAL !
T/P 2020

Max Shaver Jr

Video on HAND WASHING FROM THE CDC ?
My MOM taught my HOW, and WHEN, to wash my hands when I was 2 YEARS OLD !
GOOD GRIEF ! HAVE WE BECOME THAT MUCH OF A NANNY STATE ?

Tom Smithbrother

Nice but why show a clip for a former President when we have a sitting one. Makes me wonder about your motives.

Michael McCracken

I am in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The roads are full of cars. I hope this is people just driving around to escape isolation. It amazes me at the number of people I see in the Walmart store not wearing masks. Also there appears to be no restriction regarding the number of shoppers allowed in the store. I ask an older shopper why he was not wearing a mask? He advised , he did not believe in the Covid19. Lots of shoppers mostly young people not wearing masks. I am in my 70’s and for me I chose to use the mask and follow the social distancing regulations. Regardless of what is true or not, I will not throw caution to the wind. If there is any chance at all of getting this terrible virus it is not worth the risk.

Cindy

WHY don’t people realize that if they refuse to follow the rules our nanny states will make up new ones to enforce? People of MI, I salute your need to get out, but not your need to hover in groups and get everything turned over again. Your “officials” obviously need educated on the fact that being outside is actually good for you and may even keep you from getting the virus. Just don’t be so stupid next time as to tick them off by holding your heads together.

Jessie harvey

I can’t believe you would support censorship what gives them the right to play God and say what’s true or not

PennyPA

What is wrong with the officials in Grand Haven, Michigan?? There is not a single rv in that picture!! Why re-close the campgrounds when it’s the day-use people that are doing all the congregating? And I’m truly not sure if that picture is a picture of the congregants.

Montgomery Bonner

I took the poll about eating in a restaurant I would eat in one tomorrow. In Fact our Longhorn opened up in GA near us, and we went two days later. The store is taking very good precautions to keep everyone safe, paper menus, which are disposed in garbage after one use (wasteful). They could be wiped down with a rag with bleach solution, might not look good, but saves some money. The staff is all masked, but some of them do not social distance as they should, oh well.

But, NO, I am not afraid of catching COVID-19. Let’s be honest here, not ONE SINGLE HUMAN, not one, human on this planet will live forever, every single one of us is going to die. Do I want it today, no, nor do tomorrow, but I know it’s coming. I have to take reasonable precautions, but I want my life back now!

The more important thing, is I don’t want 10% life, I want 100% life, I want to shake hands with my friends and associates, I want to be able to go to any store I choose and not have to wear a mask. I don’t want to look in the eyes of people, and see all the despair and hurt associated with this mess. I want my normal life back, and will fight tooth and nail to get it back, even if that means eating in a restaurant dining room.

This attack, yes I said Attack on our nation, has many, many casualties. But one I especially will miss is the Soup Plantation/Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant Chain. They announced this week, permanent closure of all their stores, so 4,400 people lose their jobs permanently, building owners lose rent, and in this economy no one for a long time will occupy those units, the economic destruction to our way of life is going to be devastating, and IT AINT GOING TO BOUNCE BACK FAST, it will take years, and I may be dead long before any semblance of life as I know it returns.

Now this is not the only one, almost any buffet style restaurant, Golden Corral, every Casino which has buffet, and any restaurant which used to provide a salad bar, those are gone. Some person, who I don’t know, will prepare my salad, and pick my foods for me, this is normal in any reasonable sit down restaurant, but not in the ones listed above. I will never be able to get my own coffee out of the pump pot, or put soda pop into my glass, someone will always be doing that for me.

Example, went to get tires on the car at Costco, the cracker barrel restaurant we were going to go to have the dining room closed (pot pie day), so we did not get that, instead, got hot dog at Costco, filled my stomach, but not my pleasure place. Hot dogs and pizza are the only two menu items being served at this one, it comes with drink, walked over to drink stand, one employee with gloves on, put the cup out and said take the snap on lid and straw, then he took drink order and filled cups, he put them down on the table and I installed lid and put straw in them. I could not get the amount of ice I wanted, nor the combination of pop I want, although he tried, it was not “my way”. My freedoms, small though they may be are now gone. You and I are going to find, many “freedoms” of which we had, are now gone, someone else is going to make your decisions for you, and trust me, I don’t like it one darn bit. Some local, county, state, or even federal person is going to dictate to you exactly what, how, when, why, and all the rest. This in many ways is worse than Nazi Germany, our lives are going to be “structured down to the color of our underwear” for as long as this lasts. Someday it may be gone, but, the little “Hitler’s who now have the reigns” will never give up on their power grab, and evidence of this is in the news every day. How about the salon owner in TX, who was put in jail over her store opening?

RV Parks might reopen, but forget about having public restrooms/showers, those might be gone forever, but not the states hotel tax rates which in my opinion will skyrocket, to as much as 30% of the total bill. You will be paying for services but they will not be available. Why would I take my limited resources (my money) and stay in a place where I cannot use any of the things provided, recreations rooms, pool tables, picnic areas, public bathrooms/showers, all of those are going to be closed and unavailable for months if not longer, but the fees, and taxes you pay for those items are still going to be in the bill. Public hiking trails some of which might reopen, maybe, but not all, and again for months, but the costs to maintain those are still continuing. And at some point, the government (all levels) will realize, they do not have the money to pay bills, so your taxes are going to rise, and don’t be surprised to see the smallest rate at 50%, all the “free money” well it isn’t free, someone has to pay, that will be you and me. Get ready for it.

Believe me, my guess is Walmart will disallow any and all boon docking in the parking lots soon, if it has not happened already, why, the legal ramifications which this mess is going to lead will cause this, in fact, no public venue, which allowed you to stop overnight, will allow it in the future, truck stops do it for trucks, but my guess is RV’s are not allowed soon. Planning a trip, finding a place to stop, is going to become very difficult, since social distancing is going to dictate how facilities are used or allowed to be used. The freedom of RV Lifestyle is gone for at least this year, and up until a vaccine is found and approved in the public space, next year too. Then, and my guess is, certain people will not be allowed to take it, because the effects of it could be worse than getting COVID-19. So some people will always be at risk, remember I want my 100% life back, even if only for two weeks.

This makes me mad as He**, because I just got a brand new Class A motorhome, and being able to use it for the foreseeable future, is questionable at best, and it’s value, has most likely gone down at least 30% or more because of the numbers of them either being liquidated because of debt problems, or folks realizing they cannot take them anywhere, why own one. So anyone looking for a good newer RV, the used listings are going to be huge.

Life as we know it, has changed, much for the worse, and you had better figure out which is more important, a 10% life now, or take your best shot and eat out whenever you can.

Sue

Where is Linn County New York? Can’t seem to find it.

Jeff

I just talked with my aunt and she will let my uncle know that the national forest in Michigan do not have a set date to reopen. Needless to say my aunt is disappointed in the news.

Tommy Molnar

” U.S. officials say fewer illegal immigrants are trying to enter the country from Mexico amid new enforcement rules imposed in response to the coronavirus outbreak.”

Huh? “New enforcement rules”? Keep it up.

Jeff

I will be calling my uncle who lives in Wisconsin and camps in the Michigan national forest too let him know that the national forest in Michigan has not set a date too open