PAYNESVILLE -- Calls continue for Governor Tim Walz to open up campgrounds.

The governor's latest executive orders still don't allow private campgrounds to open for recreational camping on a rotating basis.

Paul Bugbee owns and operates Bug-Bee Hive Resort Lodge and Event Center in Paynesville. He also sits on the Minnesota Resort and Campground Association board.

Bugbee says while he respects the difficult job the governor has, he feels like camping can be a good thing during this time. In fact, he's written letters to both the governor and lawmakers asking them to allow campgrounds to open up.

And I basically said, we are a safe haven, if you will, from the coronavirus. We're the wide-open spaces. And, not only allow us to be open but encourage people to get out of their homes and get out to the resorts and campgrounds in outstate Minnesota where they can breathe the fresh air.

Bugbee says campgrounds have the expertise to help the Minnesota Department of Health develop protocols and guidelines to ensure social-distancing and sanitizing best practices. He says they want the opportunity to develop alternative strategies to what would normally be large gatherings at beaches and at pools.

In most cases, Bugbee says, camping groups are under that group of 10-or-less and feel people will self-regulate just like they did during the Stay at Home order.

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