RV campers get booted from Winton Woods after Great Parks told them they could stay

RV_Camper_Mary _Sam_ Fitzgerald .jpg
Posted at 8:43 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 21:02:05-04

CINCINNATI - A week after inviting RVs to camp in Winton Woods, Great Parks of Hamilton County ordered them gone by Thursday. No exceptions.

Those leaving say it is so hard to find open public or private sites that a few people plan to "driveway surf" until things change.

Great Parks made this call Sunday afternoon to match moves the state made last week: closing all campgrounds to slow the spread of coronavirus. Great Parks had shut down campground cabins and bathrooms more than a week ago but allowed self-contained RVs to stay.

Until they didn't. That put people in RVs like Richard Spitzfaden in limbo again.

"What I'm afraid of is like this place, we go there and then they shut it down,” Spitzfaden said.

It’s hard for Mary "Sam" Fitzgerald to pack up and go, too, but those RV's leaving Winton Woods are a sign of the times.

"It's been one thing after another,” said Fitzgerald. “We had a fire at the house. They still haven't done the repairs. They claim it's because of the virus. So I don't have a place to go right now."

Spitzfaden had reserved space for a month to visit his mom, then planned to roam state and national parks. But many closed, and private places nearby like Lebanon's KOA are limiting space while wondering how long before the governor shuts them down, too.

“The way they're shutting everything down, we figured the best thing to do is to go back to Texas," Spitzfaden said. “The place we normally stay for the winter has got a space. Just ride it out down there and hopefully come back in three or four months."

For now, Fitzgerald plans to driveway surf outside an employee's home in Saint Bernard. But that’s hardly ideal.

"It's every day you have to figure out what you're going to do today because it's constant change," Fitzgerald said.

A Great Parks spokesperson did not say when campgrounds will reopen but likely not until state parks reopen their campsites.

Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:


  • Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
  • See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.


  • State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
  • See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.


  • SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail
  • See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.