Holidaymakers to be turned away from Eden caravan park due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Garden of Eden Caravan Park still accommodate residents and displaced people, but not tourists.
The Garden of Eden Caravan Park still accommodate residents and displaced people, but not tourists.

With the NSW school holidays fast approaching, there are understandable community concerns regarding visitors to the region and potential health risks owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state government has determined caravan parks and camping grounds in NSW are to remain closed except to permanent residents and people who have no other place of permanent residence.

On Thursday, April 2 Lyn Carlson, manager of Garden of Eden Caravan Park, said there were about 20 people visiting the park and 25 permanent residents.

"We are getting people who can't find anywhere to stay in Bega, we have to be picky and choosy but also fair," Ms Carlson said.

Guests are being asked to sign a declaration, a measure which Ms Carlson said all caravan parks in operation were taking.

This declaration helps determine the circumstances surrounding their travel, such as whether they were returning home from major trip, on business-related travel, if they had extenuating circumstances or special permission from authorities.

Travellers are displaced and having trouble finding anywhere to stay, often experiencing negative reception from locals.

At the Garden of Eden Caravan Park there were grey nomads who had sold everything and bought Winnebagos, young families travelling for long periods who had rented their houses out or did not have houses to return to, and European tourists who have been in Australia since prior to the pandemic being declared and now had to wait until they can secure international flights.

"They are very grateful to be able to stay, I can't just send them away, I can't be that inhumane," Ms Carlson said.

Also accommodated at the Garden of Eden are bushfire survivors who remain homeless after having lost everything earlier in the year.

"They can't find rental properties in town, there's nothing available and now real estate agents aren't returning calls anyway.

"We have closed the pool, playground and enclosed areas now, and only allow up to six people in the camp kitchen or amenities at a time, with distancing."

The caravan park was still receiving calls from people from Victoria wanting to book for the school holidays, but they were being informed they could not book to stay given the COVID-19 situation and its imposed restrictions.

"We have to be careful, can't just take anyone willy nilly - people are telling me on the phone that they are sick of being at home - but we've got to be sensible," Ms Carlson said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said he was particularly worried about city residents using the upcoming Easter break to try and relocate themselves to regional NSW in an attempt to escape quarantine, which would be extremely dangerous for rural and remote communities.

"I know towns hit hard by the drought and bushfires are relying on holidaymakers to keep people in jobs and put food on the table, but right now health and safety is paramount and lives depend on every single one of us doing our part by staying at home," Mr Barilaro said.

This story Holidaymakers to be turned away from Eden caravan park due to COVID-19 pandemic first appeared on Magnet.