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Erie County allows most campgrounds to open

Erie County is allowing campgrounds to open, with some social distancing rules.

All camping units must be self-contained and must not need common restrooms or shower facilities, according to the Erie County Health Department.

All public gathering sites such as bathhouses, laundry facilities, recreational halls, pools/spas, beaches, fitness areas, playgrounds, pavilions, meeting areas, conference rooms, dining areas or similar areas are to remain closed until further notice.

Campgrounds were allowed to open Monday, but campgrounds within Erie County parks are closed until at least May 30.

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz closed all county campgrounds in April due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And that's when the predicament started for Bob and Carol Dubel, because their clothes and personal papers were in a locked down campground in Akron.

The couple spends half the year in Fort Myers, Fla., and the other half at Leisurewood in Akron.

The campground doesn't usually open until May 1, but the couple had been given access during the day to prepare for the official move-in date.

And then, the gate to the campground was locked April 15.

"Without any notice it was suddenly locked up," Dubel said. "Fortunately, I have a brother. I am sort of harbored in his house."

While it falls under the campground statute, Leisurewood is one of many recreational areas catering to those with self-contained recreational vehicles and mobile homes.

The Dubels don't live in a tent. Their stationary home there has water and sewer hook-ups, and it is their permanent address during the summer.

Dubel and his brother, Edward, carry on the family business of making Dubel's Polish sausage for Easter, which is why Bob and Carol come north before Easter.

Their friends, Dennis and Judi Merritt, have been waiting in Ruskin, Fla., to hear about the opening of campgrounds here, ready to drive up to spend the summer in their 750-square-foot mobile home.

"We're packing, we were waiting for the news," Dennis Merritt said Tuesday. "We'll get on the road as soon as possible."

The retired teachers sold their home in Lancaster several years ago and moved to the campground for the summers, getting out of the hot Florida weather. It was 94 degrees Tuesday, Merritt said.

"It's a great spot," he said of Leisurewood. "It’s a livable home, it's not a campsite."

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