RV Parks & Campgrounds Receive Essential Business Classification from CISA
(Washington, D.C.) June 7, 2022 – Since the beginning of the pandemic, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (National ARVC) has been leading the charge in advocating to get private RV parks and campgrounds classified as essential businesses, and on Monday that classification finally became official.
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, officially transitioned RV parks and campgrounds classification in the Commercial Facilities Sector from Outdoor Events to Lodging and simultaneously classified all temporary lodging, including RV parks and campgrounds, as essential.
This new classification allows RV parks and campgrounds to operate and continue serving Americans in a health pandemic or natural disaster, a time when they are able to provide a critical source of temporary lodging, social distancing activity, access to essential goods and services, and much more.
The decision to list RV parks and campgrounds as essential businesses resulted from a series of meetings led by National ARVC and its lobbyist David Ransom with McDermott, Will and Emery, with support from industry partners at Kampgrounds of America (KOA).
“This is a big win for our industry, and it’s been one of National ARVC’s primary advocacy focuses since March 2020 when the first campground was forced to close because of the pandemic,” says Paul Bambei, president and CEO of National ARVC.
At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many state and local jurisdictions ordered mandatory business closures, under penalty of law, for all entities other than those deemed “essential businesses.” Due to the unique and severe nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some state and local authorities applied overbroad standards for such business closure orders, and only thereafter acknowledged that additional business entities should be deemed “essential” and permitted to remain open.
RV parks and campgrounds were not exempted from such orders – and accordingly deemed “essential business” – thus causing an issue nationwide.
“CISA was issuing guidance on essential business but often this guidance was simply copied and pasted in state and local closure orders,” says Jeff Sims, senior director of state relations & program advocacy at National ARVC. “We weren’t listed as essential, but we knew we should be, so the fight for our industry began. We made it happen and now we’re on to the next win for our members and for the industry.”
The National ARVC team arrived in Washington, D.C. on Sunday to participate in RVs Move America Advocacy Week, and getting this classification from CISA was a high priority. This week the team will be meeting face-to-face with legislators on multiple issues relevant to the industry—including the impact of frivolous ADA website compliance lawsuits on private RV parks and campgrounds, the expansion of the EV charging network and the economic impact private RV park and campground businesses have on the U.S. economy.