RV Supershows

Cancelled. Billed as America’s largest RV show, the RV Supershow in Hershey, Pennsylvania will not be running this fall.

After careful consultation with the industry, the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Association (PRVCA) cancelled the 2020 Hershey America’s Largest RV Show, scheduled for September 16-20 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

As COVID-19 outbreaks continue to be of concern, PRVCA worked to find ways to hold a show while protecting the health and safety of all attendees, exhibitors, speakers and staff. Unfortunately, the hurdles were too great to overcome based on the information we have right now. Mark your calendar for the 2021 Hershey America’s Largest RV Show, September 15-19, 2021.

The Florida RV Supershow, currently scheduled for January 13-17th, 2021, has yet to be cancelled. And perhaps it will go ahead. Really, at this point in time, it is anyone’s guess as to what will happen with large gatherings in 2021. The logistics around social distancing would be very challenging to implement in these RV Supershows. I wonder how many people would be prepared to attend if the Tampa show did go ahead?

People did flock to Walt Disney World when it reopened this past week-end. Even in the midst of a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases in Florida.

Park attendance was likely capped at 30 percent of capacity although no specific numbers were released by Disney. At least not any that I could find. The folks at Disney posted a fairly stern warning about what to expect at the parks including this helpful reminder:

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. Help keep each other healthy.

Virtually all of the Newmar Kountry Klub rallies have been cancelled over the next three months.

I expect the border with the United States will continue to remain closed to non-essential land crossings for quite some time. From the Globe this morning:

The Canada-U.S. border will remain temporarily closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21 amid Canadians’ concerns about surging COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to sources.

Despite mounting pressure from some U.S. politicians in northern states and border communities to reopen the border, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made clear Monday that he has serious concerns about a major spike in coronavirus infections in most of the American states.

“We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States with regard to COVID-19. Every month we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods services, and those discussions are ongoing with the United States right now as we are a week from the next deadline for closure,” he told reporters. “We are going to continue to keep Canadians safe and to keep our economy flowing.”

Remember this from Canada’s Health Minister when COVID-19 first started?

The risk is very low. Border closures don’t work. Masks are ineffective. So many missteps. I could go on but the important observation is that our government did not know how to keep the COVID-19 virus contained. They did not know how to keep Canadians safe and they did not keep the economy flowing through this global pandemic. As Garth writes on his blog:

By now you know the news. Red ink and guts everywhere in Ottawa. Harper’s $56 billion credit crisis deficit was just a warm up for Trudeau’s $343 billion pandemic hole. The last time the feds spent like this we were in World War 2. We’ve just seen the first credit downgrade in 25 years. And no other country in the world is facing a reversal of fiscal fortunes like ours – a 1,000% deficit increase over the forecast of a few months ago.

A third of the workforce has been idled. The jobless rate will (as this blog told you) still be 10% at Christmas and close to that level in 2021. Revenues have cratered by over $100 billion. The economy in 2020 will shrink almost 7%. In the Great Depression the decline was 10%.

Perhaps our government is better informed now. We’ll find out. But the cost. My goodness. The cost.

Terrifying

“It absolutely terrifies me to think of the prospect of any sort of easing of restrictions that could allow greater travel between Canada and the United States.” — Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases consultant and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

This map shows why it would be ‘terrifying’ to open Canada-U.S. border:

The caption underneath the chart:

This photo shows COVID-19 cases in Canada and the United States. The data on the map above is on a more localized level in the United States, which makes it appear more red, but there are an overwhelming number of cases south of the border compared to Canada. (Source: Johns Hopkins University).

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy went viral on social media a few months back and ultimately found himself on a Snopes fact check: Did an Infectious Disease Specialist Write ‘I Am Not Scared of COVID-19’?

And yes, he did.

This was part of his plea:

Covid-19 is nowhere near over. It will be coming to a city, a hospital, a friend, even a family member near you at some point. Expect it. Stop waiting to be surprised further. The fact is the virus itself will not likely do much harm when it arrives. But our own behaviors and “fight for yourself above all else” attitude could prove disastrous.

I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society. Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing.

Now? He is absolutely terrified at the thought of easing border restrictions with the United States.

He seems to have embraced the fear along with many Canadians.

Canadians’ COVID-19 fears are rising again — and the U.S. might be to blame according to the CBC.

It’s clear that Canadians are watching the cautionary tale south of the border. Searches on Google Trends for “COVID” and “U.S.A.” peaked at the end of March in Canada, but had dropped off to less than half of that by the first week of June. Since then, however, web searches related to the pandemic in America have nearly doubled, while searches related to the pandemic in Canada have held steady.

Polls suggest Canadians are worried about the situation in the U.S. A Nanos Research survey for the Globe and Mail found that 81 per cent of Canadians polled want the border with the United States to stay closed for the “foreseeable future.”

Léger finds that 86 per cent of Canadians reject the idea of re-opening the border at the end of July, as is currently planned (although the border closures have been renewed and extended repeatedly in the past). Remarkably, 71 per cent of Canadians “strongly disagreed” with a re-opening of the border, suggesting a firmly held opinion.

In mid-May, Léger reported that 21 per cent of Canadians wanted the border to open by the end of June or earlier. Now, just 11 per cent agree with opening the border by the end of July.

With all of the fear of in Canada, I would be very surprised to see the border to the United States re-opening this year. It looks more and more likely that we will be grounded in Ontario for the winter.

On a happier note, the bed lift in our coach stopped working last night. The bed was stuck in the upright position. I worked on resolving the issue until close to 3 am and utterly failed to fix it. Lorraine was able to sleep sideways on what remained of the usable portion of the bed.

I slept on the floor.

Back to work on resolving that problem this morning.

I hate sleeping on floors.

That Makes Sense

When will the border reopen? We keep a careful watch on any new developments with respect to the “temporary” closure of the U.S./Canada land border.

What began as a 30-day temporary closure has now been extended three times. And I expect it will continue to be extended.

The rationale: limit the further spread of coronavirus. All non-essential travel between the two countries is limited. But not completely:

Many Canadians are unaware that, even though they’re currently barred from driving to the U.S. for leisure travel, they can still fly to the country.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told CBC News that its travel restrictions apply only to Canadians trying to enter the U.S. at land border crossings, which includes travel by car, train, ferry and pleasure boats.

However, Canadian air passengers can still enter the country as long as they haven’t visited Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the U.K. or 26 European countries in the Schengen Area 14 days prior.

The United States welcomes Canadians travelling by air. Not by car, train, ferry and pleasure boats. I think we can safely assume that motorcoaches are also restricted.

From a local Toronto media report:

Much remains uncertain during COVID-19 for the many Canadians who hope to escape the frozen north this winter.

What happens if border restrictions don’t ease by fall?

What’s going on with travel insurance?

And what’s the COVID-19 situation in various southern climes?

“Those are the three key determinants,” says Stephen Fine, president of Snowbird Advisor, a one-stop source of support, advice and services to its thousands of snowbird members across Canada.

Despite the travel ban in place until July 21, Fine says, “We’re cautiously optimistic that there will be a season. There’s a strong demand among snowbirds to get away.”

We are still in limbo with respect to our plans for the fall. In less than four months, our site will close and we will have to move on to our next destination. Under different circumstances, we would begin to look forward to travelling south in our coach.

Now? So much uncertainty. Difficult to plan.

The Canadian government remains committed to restricting the mobility rights of its citizens in the face of a public health emergency.

And, if the COVID-19 numbers in the United States keep climbing, I am not optimistic about our chances of being south this winter.

Recent polling shows the vast majority of Canadians want to keep the border closed indefinitely. This poll found that 83 percent of Canadians want the border kept closed.

Here are the numbers out of Florida updated today:

And all of Canada:

Six Mile Lake

Closed. Or open. So hard to know these days. The Province of Ontario, using only the finest in evidence based decision making to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, declared that people in the province could now form a social circle of ten. This is different from a social gathering of ten people. This is also different from a protest gathering of several thousand.

What is a social circle?

As we continue our shared fight against coronavirus (COVID-19), social circles are a way to safely expand the number of people with whom you can come in close contact. Think of your social circle as the people you can hug and touch, or those who can become part of your daily and weekly routines.

You can now establish a family or social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact with one another without physical distancing.

Everyone living in the same household is in a social circle.

People in the same social circle:

  • do not have to physically distance
  • can hug and touch each other
  • should continue to follow public health advice, including frequently washing their hands and taking everyday actions to help stop the spread of COVID-19

The government even provided this helpful chart in case, you know, it seems confusing to create a social circle.

Social circles.

Ten.

Not eleven.

Or twelve.

Just ten.

But if you have a family of six, just four more.

As long as those four do not form a circle with someone else.

Anyway, we have been playing along with all of these interesting rules imposed by our government and we added our youngest son to our social circle.

Our park had a soft opening on the week-end and we rented him a cabin here. After being back in Canada for almost three months, I was finally able to see one of my children in person.

We decided that it would be great to go out together to one of our provincial parks and do some photography. The parks were recently reopened for daytime use.

But not really open. We went to Killbear Provincial Park first. And the nicest areas of that park were closed. The road to enter was barricaded with a fence and it was just too far to get to the best photo spots.

Here are a couple of shots I had taken at Killbear a few years back. The park has walking trees. They were just walking too far away from us.

We diverted to Six Mile Lake Provincial Park.

The main road was barricaded. With a car. They must have a bigger budget than Killbear.

We found a spot to leave our car and we took our chances by walking into the Forbidden Zone. The park was devoid of any human life. I was able to get a few shots in before an encounter with the park ranger.

“What are you doing here?”

“Just taking some pictures with my son.”

I thought the encounter might become a difficult situation however she seemed really happy to see some other humans. She pointed out some areas for us to shoot and wished us an enjoyable evening.

We stayed at Six Mile Lake until the bugs came out. At which point we made our way back to our park.

The best shot of the day?

This one.

I was so happy to be able to spend the day with my son.

Hoping to see the rest of my children soon if there is room in their circles.

Travel Insurers and COVID-19

Not looking good right now. Travel insurance that is. The financial risk of travelling into the United States without health insurance coverage is high. If a Canadian snowbird were to fall ill or become injured in an accident while in the United States, the health care costs without insurance would be devastating.

Would we travel into the United States if our insurer still covered the risk with only one exclusion?

This is what our travel insurance company is telling us right now:

Moving forward: for existing Annual Plans and any new and valid Medipac Policies issued with Trip Start Dates after the Official Global Travel Advisory released by the Government of Canada, claims for medical emergencies relating to COVID-19 WILL NOT be covered. This includes claims from clients that experience symptoms that are similar to or that may reasonably be attributed to COVID-19, in absence of a COVID-19 test, as such tests apparently are in short supply.

Our government, always helpful in terms of restricting our mobility rights, has this notice posted on their website:

Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.

Under said notice, at least as far as I can tell, is a list of every single country in the world, including the United States, where non-essential travel is to be avoided.

Insurers use that list to invoke policy exclusions. Even if the Canadian government ends their official travel advisory against the world, insurers are unlikely to assume the risk of COVID-19.

Would we travel in the fall and assume the financial risk of COVID-19? Even if the border with the U.S. reopens to non-essential travel?

Last week, Air Canada issued a press release:

As part of the new schedule, in accordance with provisions for air travel to the U.S. for Canadians, Air Canada will resume service to the U.S. on May 22, with six destinations being served by May 25, including New York-LaGuardia, Washington-Dulles, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. This is a reduction from 53 U.S. destinations served last year. There are tentative plans to resume more U.S. service as of June 22, pending regulatory changes and demand.

June 21st is the next date when the Canadian government will decide whether the border with the United States can reopen. I suspect that is why Air Canada is being a little careful with the June 22nd date.

Even Walt Disney World has announced plans for a phased reopening starting on July 11th.

All good.

But most Canadians will stay in Canada this winter. Under house arrest and under strict social distancing rules. Ontario’s Emergency act contains a litany of rules like this one:

SCHEDULE 1
ORGANIZED PUBLIC EVENTS, CERTAIN GATHERINGS
Prohibition
1. (1) Subject to subsections (3) and (4), no person shall attend,

(a) an organized public event of more than five people, including a parade;

(b) a social gathering of more than five people; or

(c) a gathering of more than five people for the purposes of conducting religious services, rites or ceremonies.

The government is so focused on keeping people socially distanced that they started to paint circles in parks to keep the herd properly separated. Carefully supervised by enforcement officers. Stay within your circle people!

There is, apparently, an exception for some organized protests. You can gather as many people as you wish for a protest in Toronto like this one on Saturday.

In the strange new world of COVID-19, other protests will get you a strict rebuke from government officials.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford slammed a group of people protesting coronavirus-related restrictions outside Queen’s Park on Saturday, calling them a “bunch of yahoos.”

Dozens of protesters gathered outside of the legislature demanding an easing of restrictions that officials have implemented in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s reckless to do what they’re doing and personally I think it’s selfish,” Ford said.

Our premier has yet to comment on the much larger group of people that gathered to protest on Saturday. I suspect he will not call them reckless and a “bunch of yahoos.”

Unusual times.