As you are no doubt aware, there is a new pandemic sweeping across the globe. It is called Covid-19. So we were talking and wondering just how this new virus will impact RVing. In this article we explore what it is (briefly), how to keep yourself safe, and what the impacts on RVing will be.
What Is Covid-19
COVID-19, as it is now known, was originally called a novel coronavirus. Coronaviruses belong to a family of viruses that can cause respiratory illness in both animals as well humans. Some previous coronaviruses that you might have heard of in the past include SARS and MERS. COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019.
What are the Symptoms of Covid-19
Symptoms of Covid-19 vary. Some people show little to now symptoms while others have become hospitalized due to the illness.
Symptoms have included:
- dry cough
- sputum production
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- myalgia or arthralgia
- nausea or vomiting
- nasal congestion
- conjunctival congestion
In severe cases, infection can lead to death.
As an RVer, What do you need to know?
For most people, current science suggests that while COVID-19 is fairly infectious, it has very low death rates, especially for young people. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), approximately 80% of laboratory confirmed patients have had mild to moderate disease. That is good news. However, if you are susceptible to illness, or have a pre-existing condition (such as asthma) and you catch Covid-19 your symptoms could become more sever.
One good thing about living in an RV (as opposed to an apartment building, for example) is that you are already somewhat isolated. One recommendation is to maintain a “social distance” from others of about 2 meters, or 6 feet. What that means is you should simply stay 6 feet away from those around you. This is most important if you live in an area where the virus is known to be.
If you are a snowbird returning to Canada, health officials recommend that you self isolate for 14 days in case you are carrying the virus but are unaware.
Cleanliness Is Important
It is around this time of year that some RVers bring their RVs out of storage in preparation for the upcoming camping season. While we don’t suggestion don’t do this. We do recommend that you spend a little extra time not only cleaning your RV for the first time, but perhaps cleaning more regularly as the virus progresses through communities.
Cleaning involves using stronger cleaners, such as bleach, or alcohol wipes, to clean surfaces that you touch, such as door handles, faucets, steering wheels, dishes, cups and glasses, television remotes, camp chairs and tables, BBQs etc. Virtually any surface can be a carrier of the virus and so far, scientists don’t know for sure how long the virus can survive on said surfaces. You are better to be more cautious now until science can prove otherwise.
IMPORTANT! DO NOT FLUSH ALCOHOL OR ANY DISPOSIBLE WIPES DOWN YOUR RV TOILET. Dispose of them in the garbage. Flushing them could cause a blockage in your black tank, making it impossible to drain it. While some wipes say they are flushable, that is referring to flushing down a residential toilet.
What Other Precautions Should You take?
As you may have already heard, sometimes the simplest precautions are the best. Wash your hands. If you already do that regularly, consider washing more often. If you don’t have ready access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your face, especially if you haven’t washed your hands in a while.
Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough. If you don’t have a tissue to cover your face, sneeze or cough into your elbow. The goal is to prevent spread.
As mentioned above, maintain a “social distance” of 2 metres, or 6 feet, from others.
Should you stay home or go RVing this summer?
One common theme seems to be that governments are now recommending you don’t travel outside your country. This makes RVing within your own country more appealing. Whether you actually do travel with your RV to other parts of the country is your choice currently, but we feel RVing is one of the safest ways to travel within your own country.
Hotels, for example, may not be cleaned properly. Similarly, restaurants may find themselves short staffed as this goes on, which could lead to issues with cleanliness. But your own RV, which you’ve cleaned, yourself will be safe if you’ve been thorough. That means you could see those areas of the country you’ve already wanted to see, and with precautions, you could see them and not catch this virus.
If this does happen – that more people take their RVs out of storage to travel more within their country, we recommend planning your trip and contacting the campgrounds you want to stay at ahead of time to book a spot. This way there won’t be any surprises if you get to the campground you really want to stay in only to find it filled up with other RVers who had the same idea as you.
If you do go RVing this spring and summer, we also recommend checking in with your provincial or private health care insurance provider to find out if you are covered for things like this, and if not find out if you can get covered. One of the worst things we can think of is driving across the country only to come down with this and having to stay in place, self isolated for a couple weeks. At least if you have insurance coverage you might be able to be compensated for some of the extra costs associated with your trip. Really, every Canadian should check with their provincial health authority about their coverage when traveling to another province, or out of the country, to see what is and is not covered.
What will Covid-19 Mean for the RV Industry in General
While it is early, and hard to tell, we feel an extended duration situation like this might be good for the industry. We’ve already heard of people wondering what to do if they can’t fly to their destination for spring break, for example. And it is becoming increasingly clear that they will not be able to travel as some countries are already severely limiting travel into their country from others.
But people want to travel, so if it is recommended they stay within their own country, and since we already know hotels could be places where Covid-19 could be transmitted (think of all the people that have been getting sick on cruise ships), it would be safer to travel in and stay in your own vehicle.
Further, if this drags on for as long as some are predicting (12-18 more months), RV sales could improve as people look at ways to travel without flying or cruising.
This pandemic is still relatively new, and as time goes on, we expect things will change. The science will get better as will predictions for virus spread. However we do think the RV industry in general may benefit.
Personally, we suggest you try to limit your contact with others and ensure your RV is kept clean and sterilized as much as possible. And know that, if things get really really bad, you can drive your RV into the bush and wait it out 😊.