LURAY, Va. (WHSV) — Under Phase 1 of the 'Forward Virginia' plan for reopening the commonwealth, which took effect last Friday, private campgrounds, which had been closed to anything shorter than 14-day stays, were able to reopen to short-term camping, with a variety of restrictions on place, including on the distance between campsites.
One popular campground in the area that's part of a chain is expecting a large number of families for Memorial Day weekend.
According to a statement from Jellystone Park, which operates four campgrounds across Virginia, they will be open for the weekend and are prepared with enhanced sanitation, new operating procedures and activities designed for social distancing.
"Families are definitely ready for a break from the stay-at-home orders, and reservations have been brisk,” Trent Hershenson, vice president of marketing, said. “Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while practicing social distancing.”
Depending on the specific resort, they're inviting guests to participate in activities like hiking, biking, mini golf, scavenger hunts, gem mining, laser tag, fishing, Yogi Bear character appearances, and arts and crafts sessions, as well as virtual activities and campsite activity kits that may be available to families.
Jellystone Park has locations in Luray, Hayes, Emporia, and Natural Bridge Station.
In accordance with state and federal health guidelines, some amenities and services at the parks may not be available, so they're encouraging guests to contact parks directly for the most current information, as well as to make reservations.
You can find that contact information here.
Jellystone says they're "following federal, state and local authorities’ directives" and " have been provided with best practices and recommendations from the nation’s leading health organizations."
In addition to social distancing policies, guests can expect increased sanitation measures, including frequent cleaning of all facilities, more usage of disinfectants, and d sanitization of rental equipment between usages.
Hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed throughout the parks, and employees may be wearing masks.
Below are the mandatory requirements for private campgrounds under Phase 1 in Virginia:
• Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days, is permitted in the establishment.
• Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high risk individuals, and staying home if sick (samples at bottom of this document).
• All lots rented for short term stays of less than 14 nights (and not owned by individuals) must maintain a minimum of 20 feet between units.
• All common areas that encourage gathering must remain closed such as pavilions, gazebos, picnic areas, etc.
• No physical sharing of recreation or sports equipment unless it is cleaned and disinfected with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
• No day passes or visitors. Only persons listed on the registration are allowed on the property.
• It is recommended that campgrounds strongly encourage customers to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth.
• No gatherings of greater than 10 people in one location.
• On site retail, recreation and fitness, cabins, and food establishments must follow the requirements and guidelines specific to those establishments.
• Employees working in customer-facing areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, such as using CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance.
• Provide hand washing in bath houses or sanitizing stations for guests and employees.