The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) launched a guide today that gives owners and operators in the U.S. and Canada the tools they need to re-open their RV parks.
The ARVC’s comprehensive toolkit focuses on the safety of campsite guests and employees to ensure a smooth return to business. The toolkit, available for anyone to download for free, includes a three-phased approach for re-opening, a robust guide called “Re-Opening RV Parks and Campgrounds: A Guide for the Outdoor Hospitality Industry”, a Quick Guide for easy reference, and a myriad of policy and signage templates, marketing assets and other resources.
“While the past few months have been difficult for our entire country, with extended closures and social distance restriction limiting business, the outdoor hospitality industry has pulled together and shown remarkable strength to face this challenge together,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of ARVC.
The content for the toolkit was an industry-wide effort. ARVC collaborated with Kampgrounds of America (KOA), the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), the Canadian RV Association (CRVA), Marshall & Sterling Insurance, state associations and many other industry partners to produce the content.
“The collaboration with industry partners and subject matter experts to create this robust toolkit is yet another example of how our industry is stronger together—how we are all in this together to get our industry re-opened and thriving again,” Bambei said.
The toolkit is an extension of the ARVC webinar series, which ran for eight weeks in March and April and helped more than 1,000 campgrounds across the United States and Canada navigate the early stages of the COVID pandemic. Owners and operators utilized the live webinars, as well as the recordings which were viewed more than 4,000 times, to learn about the SBA/PPP loan process, emergency planning and cleaning procedures, legal issues and shared best practices.
The toolkit now expands on that information to help the outdoor hospitality industry navigate the next stage of the pandemic—re-opening.
“With states starting to reopen, the public is excited to enjoy the tranquility and escape offered by camping—the original social distancing,” said David Basler, vice president of membership and marketing for ARVC. “We wanted to make sure RV parks and campgrounds across North America were ready to provide world-class hospitality focused on safety first. This toolkit gives owners and operators all the information and resources they need to make the best decisions for their park.”
For parks in states that aren’t open yet, the toolkit offers a suggested three-phased approach for safely re-opening. This approach can be used as-is or can be customized to a specific state or park and can be used both as part of a park’s plan and as a tool to advocate for RV parks and campgrounds to be open in Phase 1 of a state’s re-opening plan.
ARVC’s government affairs team has been making the Phase 1 argument to many states across the country and will be using this phased approach to re-opening, in addition to other elements of the toolkit, as supporting documentation in these continued discussions.
“Re-Opening RV Parks and Campgrounds: A Guide for the Outdoor Hospitality Industry” is a step-by-step guide including suggested new procedures and best practices for specific park areas—check-in, store, bath houses and restrooms, RV sites and other accommodations, recreation and activities and more, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
For campgrounds that don’t have time or the ability to create custom signage, marketing assets or update policies and procedures, the toolkit also offers checklists, simple templates and other resources to make it easy.
“Some of the most important resources are the ones that help campgrounds communicate policies and plans with employees, guests and local government officials, the folks that most need to hear this,” Bambei said. “It’s not a one-size fits all plan, but instead is customizable to specifically allow each park to make the decisions that are best for their park and fit the local regulations.”
The guide is intended to provide recommendations for general informational purposes only and should not be accepted as legal or government mandated advice. To ensure reopening efforts align with state and local mandates, it is recommended each park or campground owner/operator contact their state, county and city governments as well as local health department for official guidance.
As each park is unique, this guide is also not intended to be exhaustive, but will provide the tools and guidelines needed for each park to responsibly create its own operational policies and procedures that comply with all federal, state and local requirements, and any additional precautions appropriate for the circumstances of the park. ARVC will continue to update the toolkit as new information becomes available and as the pandemic recovery develops.
The complete toolkit is available for free download at arvc.org/reopen-toolkit and the ARVC team is available to answer any questions and to support all outdoor hospitality industry members in this time of need. If you have a question or concern, connect with ARVC at [email protected] or 303-681-0401.