Fifty-six Good Sam Parks across Florida have agreed to provide a month’s worth of free housing to doctors and nurses who cannot safely stay in their own homes because of their exposure to patients with COVID-19.
The Good Sam Parks are part of an effort involving a total of 62 parks that is coordinated by the Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition and the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, according to a joint press release by both organizations.
“Our members obviously recognize the magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis and want to help out in any way they can,” said Bobby Cornwell, executive director and CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
Parks Step Up
Cornwell said participating parks have already offered to provide 30 days’ worth of housing to hospital doctors and nurses at no cost and he continues to receive emails from park operators willing to participate. So far, the majority of the parks willing to provide free accommodations are affiliated with Sun Communities.
Lynne Drawdy, executive director of the Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition, said the temporary housing is intended for Florida-based healthcare professionals who need a safe place to stay while they treat COVID-19 patients.
“These are people who can’t risk going home and exposing their family members to the coronavirus,” Drawdy said.
Parks Offer Amenities, ‘Distancing’
She said the idea of using RV parks as temporary housing came from Fay O. Pappas, an attorney in Winter Park, who was worried about her brother, a local trauma surgeon who was having to live in his family’s garage for fear of contaminating his family if he unknowingly came into contact with the coronavirus. Pappas has been spearheading the collaborative efforts involving the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and the Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition. RV parks often have park model RV rentals, which are self-contained, free-standing, cottage-like units with their own private kitchens, bathrooms and air conditioning systems.
RV parks are also laid out over many acres and give people the ability to maintain social distancing easier than hotel facilities.
Drawdy said hospitals in the greater Tampa and Orlando areas already have indicated they have healthcare professionals who want to take advantage of the free housing offer.
The following Good Sam Parks (arranged by city) offer free accommodations for medical personnel.