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Campgrounds now allowed to operate in Erie County, must follow ECDOH guidance

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Posted at 3:53 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 15:53:04-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County has announced the local emergency order that closed all campgrounds in the county has been allowed to expire and as of May 11 campgrounds in the county may open.

The county says campgrounds "may operate in Erie County in a manner that is consistent with their permit conditions, New York State Sanitary Code, NYS PAUSE Orders, and current county, state and federal guidelines, including conditions set by ECDOH."

The guidance campgrounds must follow includes:

  • All camping units should be self-contained not needing the use of common campground restrooms or shower facilities.
  • Only registered campers should be allowed into the campground. There should not be any outside visitors.
  • Campers shall not congregate at another camper’s site. No gatherings/parties of any kind. Campfires shall be kept to family members at individual site only.
  • 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 should remain CLOSED until further notice per the Governor’s Executive Orders.
  • All campers must practice social distancing at all times (6 feet minimum). No groups of any size may congregate for activities. Use of face masks must follow NYS guidelines.
  • Any camper that begins to feel ill with COVID-19 like symptoms shall self-isolate and contact their personal healthcare provider.
  • Dine-in Food Service Operations are prohibited until further notice. Take-out or delivery options to campsites is acceptable for food orders. Indoor seating at the food service facility should be blocked off to prevent use. Picnic tables located in the food service area should be removed to discourage congregation.

“The Erie County Department of Health and our Division of Environmental Health have established this guidance to protect the health of campers and safety of campground facilities,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz closed all campgrounds, via emergency order, on April 15th over COVID-19 spread concerns.

"Based on reports we've received, and as approved by NYS, today I've signed an emergency order closing all campgrounds (as defined by NY law and which require a permit to operate) in Erie County, and prohibiting camping at any of these sites, effective 9 am tomorrow," Poloncarz tweeted in April.

On May 1 Erie County submitted a revised order on campgrounds for NYSDOH approval.

ECDOH says sanitarians and local code enforcement officers will be monitoring campgrounds for compliance.

Any individual found in violation may receive a citation up to $1,000. Any campground found in violation may have further action taken, which could include a Campground Close Order and/or individual civil or criminal penalties.

Campgrounds within county parks remain closed until at least May 30.