The RV lifestyle has long been associated with leisure activities and enjoying the great outdoors. Such associations still hold true, but coronavirus has added a whole new meaning to things. With so many people having to quarantine and/or social distance, local governments and private sector organizations alike are putting motorhomes and trailers to work in the fight against the virus.
Motorhomes and trailers are perfectly suited to the battle because they are essentially self-contained housing units. It may not be reasonable for organizations to set them up as long-term housing solutions, but they do very well for short-term needs. A cornucopia of news stories published by mainstream media outlets tells the whole story.
RV Lifestyle for Healthcare Workers
Facebook is home to a group of volunteers known as RVs for MDs. The group was established by a woman from North Texas who was in need of a place her ER doctor husband could rest without the risk of exposing his family to coronavirus. Staying full time at a hotel was out of the question for the simple fact that he did not want to be away from his family. A borrowed RV was the solution.
The group now has more than 22,000 members. Together, they have matched more than 340 healthcare professionals with families willing to loan their RVs. Healthcare workers can park the units in their yards, providing separate space but still keeping them close to the ones they love.
Temporary Quarantine Housing
In California, officials were already looking at temporarily housing the homeless in state-owned RVs when the coronavirus crisis struck. They expanded on the idea in order to provide temporary quarantine housing. In Los Angeles County for example, officials set up dozens of RVs at Dockweiler Beach. There are plans to do even more.
The state is currently working on obtaining more than 1,300 trailers from FEMA and a number of private companies. They are spending $50 million to provide emergency housing via the trailers and additional hotel vouchers. It is all intended to protect the homeless from coronavirus exposure on the streets.
Workspaces on Wheels
Given that the coronavirus crisis has forced millions of workers to stay home, it is no surprise that some of the more creative among us have turned to motorhomes and trailers as solutions for remote working. Their RVs have become workspaces on wheels.
The Wall Street Journal reported late last spring that first time RV sales had been on the rise for several months. People able to work remotely were looking to take their jobs on the road and keep themselves socially distant at the same time. Others were not necessarily traveling. They were using their RVs as temporary housing, similar to what healthcare workers were doing.
In November, the Wall Street Journal reported on a number of individuals who were using RVs and converted commercial vehicles as mobile workspaces. They mentioned a Seattle photographer who converted an old ski shuttle into a mobile workspace complete with a full kitchen, shower, and toilet. The setup allows him to remain socially distant no matter where he is called to work.
Socially Distant Vacations
Burgeoning RV sales cannot be discussed without considering their original purpose: leisure travel. We know that the travel industry took a big hit in 2020. Things are likely to remain dismal at least through the first half of 2021. Yet people still want to travel. They still want to take vacations.
RV travel lets families get away for a while without contributing to the spread of coronavirus. RV vacations emphasize time spent outdoors, away from the hustle and bustle of densely packed tourist destinations. They also represent a nice change of pace. If nothing else, corona-inspired RV travel could end up giving a long-term boost to the RV and camping industries.
Story after story demonstrates that coronavirus has given new meaning to the RV lifestyle. RVs are being transformed from recreational vehicles into socially distant housing for medical workers. They are being utilized for temporary quarantines in hopes of stopping the spread. They are even being utilized as mobile workspaces that keep people employed in the midst of what will go down as one of the most remembered medical events of the 21st century.
And we all thought motorhomes and trailers were just for camping.