Eastern Long Island Kampground will open its sites free of charge to health care workers in an effort to offer support amid the outbreak of COVID-19.
Health care workers in need of housing will be offered free campsites with water, electric and sewer hookups, according to the owners of the 23-acre Greenport facility.
“[Health care workers] are coming to Long Island and having trouble finding housing,” said Sean Magnuson, who co-owns the campground with Chris Winter, in an interview Monday.
“We had someone reach out wanting to camp here from down south who said, ‘Oh, it’s only 80 miles away from Queens,’ ” Mr. Magnuson said, adding that the inquiry planted the seed to do something to help.
The decision to offer the campground was also fueled by calls to action by elected leaders and a Sunday announcement from President Donald Trump that social distancing guidelines will be extended to April 30.
“It hit home that there’s going to be this longer period that we have to deal with,” Mr. Magnuson said.
The campground was set to open for the season May 1, a date Mr. Magnuson said could possibly be pushed back. But around him, he saw people stepping up in different ways, from meals donated to Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital to his teenage son, Ethan, helping with a STEM initiative at the Stony Brook School to laser cut face shields for the hospital.
“It’s inspiring,” Mr. Magnuson said. “Everyone is giving back, and we wanted to do our part.”
In addition to offering campsites, there are several RVs and campers available for those without their own, donated by regular campers who store them at the site during the winter. Mr. Magnuson said he also plans on making his 40-foot motor home available. He’s reached out to regulars and the close-knit Long Island camping community online to gauge interest in donating campers and said they’re hoping to have sites ready to go by Tuesday morning.
They are also working with Stony Brook ELIH and Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead to assess the need for housing locally with the coronavirus expected to peak in mid-April.
For more information, visit elikampground.com or call 631-477-0022.