The Outdoor Recreation Industry And COVID-19

Mar 27, 2020

As Americans across the country are buckling down at home in response to COVID-19, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and its members are monitoring the situation closely and working to provide information to the thousands of outdoor business that have been impacted by the pandemic. While the overall industry is a major force, roughly 90% of the industry is made up of small business that are vital to the health and economic well-being of their communities, many in rural areas. These critical businesses are suffering and in danger of failing because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the necessary efforts to mitigate the virus’ spread.

ORR has a hub with up-to-date information for outdoor recreation business and partners. You can find details about federal, state, and local park and recreational amenity closures and tips for getting outdoors safely. You can also follow ORR’s ongoing efforts to protect the $778 billion outdoor recreation economy and the interests of America’s 144 million outdoor enthusiasts. We continue to work closely with federal and state agencies on closures and recreation guidance, as well as with Congress on resources that will support the outdoor sector and the 5.2 million Americans in the outdoor recreation workforce.

Like many other sectors, we are responding quickly to the changing landscape. ORR:

  • Sent a letter to the President outlining first-hand impacts that the pandemic is having on outdoor businesses and requesting support including tariff relief, inclusion of the outdoor recreation industry in any future stimulus packages and a thoughtful approach to federal land closures within CDC guidelines. 
  • Sent letters to every Governor expressing support the industry provides as well as asking them to consider outdoor recreation businesses as essential.
  • Put forward a series of policy recommendations from across the industry to immediately assist small outdoor recreation business, as well as first-person accounts of how coronavirus is affecting these businesses. 
  • Collating outdoor sector resources from across our membership and bringing the outdoor sector together to do their part in helping those most in need right now. 

These are just a few examples of what the collective outdoor recreation industry is doing to help during this time. We will get through this together and be stronger as an industry and nation when we do. I am personally grateful for the attention and focus on the healing benefits of time spent outside and feel strongly that the outdoor recreation sector will play a large role in bringing people together, healing communities and supporting jobs and economies in the months to come. In the meantime, do not forget to get outside locally in whatever manner you can, safely and according to state and CDC guidelines.