COVINGTON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Locked out of their home away from home.
A court order has put a lockdown on a private campground in Lackawanna County and those affected are calling it unconstitutional.
This court order shuts down the privately owned Eagle Lake Campground where property owners say they can’t get in and some can’t leave because of where they’re from.
“It’s our home away from home and it’s probably more home than we have in New York. A small apartment in Brooklyn is not a home,” said Igor Gorelik of Brooklyn, New York.
When May 1st rolled around, private campgrounds opened up under strict social distancing guidelines. Eagle Lake did not.
“We are not second class citizens. We love this community dearly. And we’re trying to see this community bloom and thrive,” said Olga Gorelik.
Igor and Olga Gorelik are tax-paying landowners at Eagle Lake. A court order from Covington Township was signed off by the Lackawanna Court of Common Pleas locking out all property owners who were not residing on the grounds on May 1st.
A portion of that order bases the decision off of a heavy population of owners from the greater New York and New Jersey areas. That’s where the outrage begins.
“The quote they use is ‘transient.’ It’s kind of insulting. To say that I can’t come here because I’m from the part that they don’t want. It’s completely discriminatory,” said Maurizio Parcen of Totowa, New Jersey.
The order says that because of the proximity of residents, however short or long term, “social distancing guidelines will be difficult, if not impossible to follow.”
Residents call foul.
“We’re far enough away. We’re distanced far enough away not to interact with each other. We go to our trailers, we have a little barbeque, we set up a fire, we take a walk. That’s it,” said Amos Vered of Clarks Summit, formerly of Brooklyn, New York.
To those locked out and in, the order is a personal attack.
“The units are far enough away that you don’t have to see or interact with anybody else. It’s no different than any other homes that are here,” said Parcen.
“We’re safer here than in Brooklyn with apartments that are right next to each other. Honestly? I think folks here need a lesson from New Yorkers on how to be safe,” said Vered.
The court order applies to all property owners at Eagle Lake.
The residents Eyewitness News spoke with Wednesday take offense to being treated as seasonal, transient citizens and call Eagle Lake a second home they wouldn’t jeopardize with this pandemic.
We caught up with a Covington Township supervisor who says the issue will be discussed at Thursday’s board meeting. We also reached out to the ECLA and have yet to hear back.