Letter to the editor 2, July 30, 2020

A sad testimony to Quebec campers

Dear Editor,

I’ve just returned from two consecutive camping trips of one week each in an RV. One campground was in Eastern Ontario, the other in the Townships. Both were comparable with good upkeep of the grounds. Both were members of the Good Sam network (an international organization of RV owners). Rates were almost identical, except the Quebec campground does not honour the Good Sam discount during the Quebec Construction Holiday, nor on holiday weekends.

What a difference between the two, however. While checking in at the Ontario site, I had to review and sign forms regarding our health and the campground COVID-19 policy. The Quebec reception desk made no mention of COVID-19 whatsoever, even though its website does.

The Ontario office/store allowed only one person or family in at a time. The Quebec office/store had no limit even though it was considerably smaller. Both had pools. In Ontario, pool use was by reservation and only a small number of people could be in it at the same time. The Quebec pool was a free-for-all with no control whatsoever. The Ontario washroom facilities had signs and floor markings for social distancing and were cleaned frequently. The Quebec washroom had nothing, and I saw no cleaning take place during my stay. (My site was in view of the washroom/laundry building). Very few people wore masks in the Quebec facility, despite the provincial requirement to do so.

The Ontario campers were making reasonable attempts to respect the two-metre rule and visitors were not allowed. But I was shocked by the total lack of social distancing by the Quebec campers and the many visitors. It was as if the pandemic had never existed. Many of the campers were friends or relatives and would congregate at one of the camping units with adults and children all sitting close to each other. They would take their meals together from the same shared food source, and even pass around ‘bags of goodies’ like chips, pretzels, etc.!

The Ontario staff seemed quite conscious of the need for social distancing, whereas the Quebec staff made no attempt to monitor or encourage the practice. If these two campgrounds are representative of the current situation, I am convinced that there will be an increase in COVID-19 cases amongst the Quebec camping population.

Robert Paterson


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