RV Centre offers temporary isolation units for frontline workers
Published Saturday, April 4, 2020 4:25PM EDT
GANANOQUE -- With frontline workers looking for a place to isolate away from their families, one RV provider has stepped up in a big way.
1000 Islands RV Centre is in Gananoque, between Brockville and Kingston. Co-owner Henry Boer said he got the idea to help frontline health care workers after talking to a local doctor.
“He was concerned with COVID coming to the Brockville area and having a place to isolate himself,” Boer said. “He has a young family.”
Boer posted on the business’s Facebook Page on Thursday offering RVs and campers free of charge for frontline workers who need to self-isolate because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The response was overwhelming.
“We had to pull the post down to give us a breather,” he said. “It’s been overwhelming and we are trying to meet the need.”
The post was up for a couple of hours and now there’s a waiting list he’s trying to fill, Boer said.
He said 1000 Island RV will also deliver the units within a 50-kilometre radius.
“We’re going to take it right to their doors and put it right on their property, set it up, hook it up and give them a slight orientation online because of physical distancing,” he said. “Then whenever they’re done with them, we’ll pick them back up.”
People have also been calling 1000 Islands RV to loan their personal trailer they aren’t using at the moment for workers.
Boer said with those contributions, they’ll be able to lend out about 50 units.
Clara McPherson, who works in sales at 1000 Islands RV, said a nurse showed up Saturday morning desperately needing a trailer.
“He has a two-month-old baby and doesn’t want to go into his house …it broke my heart,” she said.
The team is taking calls every day and adding names to the waiting list.
“Our entire fleet in our rental department is gone,” McPherson said. “We have a lot of people calling in that have trailers and motorhomes that are willing to match up these people with.”
Like many businesses, 1000 Islands RV has been hit hard by the pandemic, with 60 per cent of the staff laid off. More layoffs are likely in the coming weeks.
“This is huge for us,” Boer said. “If this lasts a long time, there will be huge repercussions on businesses like ourselves. We may appear large by perception, but we have bills to pay and mortgages and interest, and there’s no revenue coming in.
“We wanted to help out as much as we could and the staff has been awesome. We’ve got staff doing things to get these COVID-19 units ready. Our sales people are cleaning units and other people that are in parts are delivering the units. And I’ve been doing everything I can to keep them working as long as possible.”
Boer said the support has been great, and anyone looking to rent their personal unit out can give 1000 Islands RV a call.
“The thanks is very encouraging, but we’re just happy to make a small contribution and hopefully some other dealers will as well.
“What (health care workers) are doing is huge and what we’re doing is so small.”
If you have a personal RV or camper trailer to offer to a frontline health care workers, you can call 1000 Islands RV toll free at 1-800-837-6556.