Coronavirus Closures Kick Full-Time RV Residents From California Parks


After selling a house they hated and was on the verge of foreclosure last year, Southern California native Lana Pierce and her fiance decided to live small and bought a motorhome.

On Friday March 20, they and a number of others like them in Orange County – hardworking families whose motorhomes are their permanent home – struggled to find an affordable place to go, with campgrounds in state and county parks and the OC Fairgrounds already or about to be closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“I’m probably one of the many people who go through one of these weird situations,” Pierce said. “We’re not really homeless, but we don’t have a place to stay.

Pierce, her fiance, and their two young children recently parked their RV at the OC Fair and Event Center, but were told they will have to go after their reservation expires on Friday.

The remaining eight campers will be out over the next week, fairground spokesperson Terry Moore wrote in an email. This is part of wider efforts by fair officials to close the grounds to the public to help limit the spread of the virus.

It’s a similar story for the locals of the county-owned O’Neill Regional Park RVs – cheaper than the fairgrounds but lacking in electrical hookups – and Caspers Wilderness. The county announced the closure of campgrounds at these parks earlier in the week “in an effort to minimize the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on park patrons, staff and the Orange County community by general, “and in accordance with federal, state and county health department guidelines, according to a statement posted on the county parks website.

Pierce said she asked local and state officials for help and got no response or less than helpful advice. An official directed her to an RV park for people 55 and over; She is 35 years old. And while the OC Fairground charges $ 45 per day, seats in most private parks cost between $ 65 and $ 100 or more, she said.

Pierce works, but she also has student loan repayments and expenses related to young children.

Many cities in Orange County have restrictions on where or parking RVs on their streets. Some require permits that are only granted to city residents. Others have banned on-street parking for recreational vehicles.

That leaves Pierce and his RV mates, some of whom feel like neighbors because they see each other at different campgrounds across the county, in what she calls “that kind of gap in the system” – not technically without shelter, but with nowhere to park their homes.

She would love to go to a private RV park, she said, but “obviously if we could afford that we would stay there because they have a lot more amenities.”

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