Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente has closed down campgrounds throughout the county until July 1, and is standing behind the decision with conviction.
"Campgrounds are communal sites where people congregate. It’s not safe. I’m trying to keep people safe. Those who use them as seasonal residences should stay where they currently are," said Picente.
Jonathan Bronson owns the A-OK Campgrounds & Marina in Ava. He’s expecting a financial hit, and is hoping the campers that stay at his campground will be A-Ok with the delay.
"And that’s pretty much what I highlighted in the interview is you know people need to do what they need to do. You know it’s not going to end until we end it," he said.
Kayuta Lake Campground owner, Sky Lake, is hoping the county will consider opening sooner if the campgrounds conform to strict guidelines for public common areas.
"This is going to be quite devastating, and after talking to some of my friends in Oneida County that own other campgrounds, they’re just as worried. They’re fearful of how many people are actually going to be open next year," he said.
During Wednesday's press briefing, Picente didn’t sound optimistic about an earlier open date.
"Could it open earlier? The thing that could open earlier would be if we saw the reduction in these cases in the next couple months that allow us to go back to some type of normal life," he said.
Many people have already made camping reservations, however, Lake is hoping those campers will consider rebooking rather than cancelling, so they have a place to go to to get away from it all when the restrictions are lifted.
"Our purchase price was approximately $1.5 million, so if we have to close our doors permanently, not only do they damage myself and this park, they also hurt the banking systems around us that support us and have given us loans. Those will all go into default, so this is a horrible chain effect that could potentially happen," said Lake.
This may be a good year for campers that don’t normally get a reservation to consider supporting your local campgrounds.