Ohio campgrounds are once again open for seasonal, long-term campers. But a group representing campground owners wants the state to reopen for everyone and soon.
The Ohio Campground Owners Association, representing about 145 privately owned campgrounds, is asking the state to allow transient, short-term campers to return, hopefully by this Friday. The group’s president, Jeff Hoffman, says it’s the ideal setting for social distancing. But they’re still negotiating with state officials on protocols for keeping people safe, like how often public restrooms are cleaned.
“If we’re cleaning every two hours, we have to keep staff on-property the whole time we’re open. It would be more costly but we’re willing to do it.”
Mistina Koppes runs Maple Lakes Campground in Seville. She says right now, her seasonal customers – the ones who stay long-term in their own RVs or trailers -- are already following social distancing.
“They are the ones who have been like, ‘Please, let us come camp. We want to get out of the city. We feel safer at the campground than we do at our houses.’ They’re wearing masks when they come up to the office. They’re all using their own restrooms because our restrooms are closed right now.”
Hoffman adds that the state’s private campgrounds need to reopen soon to have time to train staff before the holiday weekend. And he’s hearing anecdotally that campers are going over the border to Pennsylvania – where campgrounds are already open – taking dollars out of the state, and possibly increasing their risk of exposure to coronavirus.