For the past several months many have been uncertain about how the Corona Virus would impact the 2020-2021 Winter Texan season. Even before the season officially began, we have been noticing many sign of the beginning of a new season.
The Winter Texan Times has been hearing from our readers and followers for several weeks now. We have also been able to talk to many park managers and hear what is going on in their parks and the feedback they have been receiving from their residents.
The outlook for this season is positive.
Despite restrictions, most Winter Texans want to come back to the Valley this winter. We keep hearing ‘I would rather be quarantined in in the Valley where it is warm than in the snow.’
Responses to our survey and numerous contacts indicate that our Winter Texans are coming – regardless of restrictions or guidelines for gatherings, eating out and participating in activities. Park staffs are working hard to meet or exceed state and county regulations and advice. Parks will continue to operate, only a few have cancelled some or all of their events, but others are geared up and ready to, ready to show how they can still serve the Winter Texans that call their parks home.
Park managers have also reported that some Winter Texans chose to stay through the summer, or stayed another month or two, and dealt with the pandemic in the Valley versus making sure they had a safe route back to their summer homes. These Winter Texans have had to find things to do while staying in the Valley. Some have participated in R/C activities, quilting activities, making masks and other small social activities.
Unfortunately, Winter Texans from Canada had to leave the Valley, and the United States, early. Canadian residents were asked to go home before they closed the border to traffic. These are the resident’s parks are worried about now on whether they will be coming to the Valley or not for the winter. With the border still closed, it is a population the Valley might not see this year.
“Everything is dependent on the border opening or not,” said several park managers and many Canadians we have talked to.
There is a lot of “playing it by ear,” said the manager at Green Gate Grove. Everything depends on regulations put out by the county and how their residents feel about participating.
Victoria Palms, and other parks, said they will be making new types of activities and events and incorporating modifications to existing activities to keep their residents busy and entertained during the season. They will also practice enhanced cleaning and social distancing.
“Events will be within guidelines of social distancing protocols and whatever directives are in place from state and county government,” said the park manager.
This is the same message we are getting from the majority of the RGV Winter Texan parks. Admittedly, only four parks are cancelling activities outright, but others are keeping things scheduled and then making modifications where they need to be made.
Tropic Star RV and MH Park manager said they are brainstorming how to conduct some activities while keeping restrictions in tact and residents safe. Activities that attract larger groups might not be permitted.
Some parks are postponing activities until November or December to see what regulations change and to make better plans to conduct activities safely. A few parks have already been holding smaller activities, outdoor activities, drive-in entertainment, and other activities that encourage practicing social distancing and occupancy guidelines.
Joe Compton, manager at Casa Del Sol, said their visitors have been more concerned about WHEN to come rather than to come or not. They have very few cancellations. Compton said the park will be forming their strategy on how to handle social gatherings and entertainment when their activity directors return to the park later this month.
“We have had weekly discussions and will continue to monitor and comply with applicable orders,” he added.
Barbara Hamel, Alamo Rev park manager said they have had no cancellations. They were at 90 percent for this season when I spoke to her.
She said her visitors are “looking forward to coming and going on with their lives.”
“There is life beyond the virus.”
People will be okay with it, she said about the adjustments that are being made to activities. It is important that we stay positive, she added, about the season.
While parks are playing it safe, they are still looking forward to the future and know they will have residents this winter season. This season will be different, parks and residents are learning how to do things differently, but we are hopeful it will happen and be a successful season for all involved.
One thing is definite, restrictions or not, our loyal Winter Texans would rather spend their winter in the Valley than up north shoveling snow.
We look forward to seeing our Winter Texans and being able to visit with them soon.