"Someday" is now, for Don Baranowski, of Deerfield. He and his newly-retired wife have a camper at A-Ok Campground and Marina, in Rome, and enjoy their summers there, boating and just relaxing by the water and woods.
"That's your safe haven, you go there to relax, get the stress level down," says Baranowski.
While central New York winters are long, the coronavirus pandemic feels eternal, and it is keeping the Baranowskis, and other die-hard campers, from their campgrounds until June 1. Originally, Oneida County Executive, Anthony Picente, Jr., had closed county campgrounds until July 1. Picente announced during his Facebook Live Town Hall Monday night, that he was moving that up to June 1st; welcomed news for campers and campground owners. But they're hoping for another adjustment that will help them salvage one of summer's three big weekends.
"The county executive, everybody that's in the local government, is doing everything possible that they can do to keep everybody safe and happy. I'm having hope that hopefully by Memorial Day we can at least have people come in and be on their own, do their own thing, immediate family only, no visitors," says A-Ok Campground and Marina owner, Jonathan Bronson.
Bronson says it's not just about leisure; it's about livelihoods.
"Daily people are telling me 'when can we come up'? I get a lot of very upset and irate phone calls from people telling me they're wasting their money and they don't want to pay their bills," says Bronson.
Baranowski and Bronson say they understand the need for safely opening and social distancing, but they say it can be practiced at camp just as easily as at home.
"The campers are 100-foot sites, so the people that are coming to their sites aren't affecting anybody else," says Bronson.
"My neighbor behind me, his lot, his building lot is 50 feet. What's the difference of being in my home or being there?" wonders Baranowski.
County Executive Picente says he's not making any moves that remotely run the risk of putting the public in jeopardy.
"We'll take a look....let's open phase one and see where we go," said Picente. "We've come too far, we've lost too many lives and too many people have been infected to just pick one area because they're screaming the loudest. I'm not about to do that."
The reopening of phase-1 businesses, like construction, manufacturing and retail-curbside pickup, gets underway Friday.