Updated in April 2020
Areas of Concern for those Homeless or on the Road for Mold Avoidance or from MCS
Updates April 25th – Campsites are re-opening in many states: Tennessee, Georgia, Alaska (weather dependant), Alabama, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas. Check each state to see if private and or sate parks are open.
May 1st should see another wave of openings.
- Gyms closed in Italy and highly affected areas. Gyms are closed for the most part in North America now (march). Those reliant on gyms for showers and lockers need to make other plans.
- Post offices closed for airmail in parts of Italy. This is less likely to happen in North America, however, those in Europe may want to prepare for what Italy has gone through. Those who need really important supplies like supplements and other necessities for mold avoidance should have the basics, especially now (late march). Many supplements and essential supplies are selling out. In Canada the Post office and UPS PO boxes are deemed essential services and will stay open for now.
- Stores closing, Amazon restrictions – many stores are closing that mold avoiders buy supplies at. Many countries are closing “non-essential stores” like clothing stores and camping supply storse. Amazon is only restocking “essential” (to normal people) items. Nonessential orders are delayed.
- Govt campsites are closing. Those living in campsites are being hit hard. Here is the current list of closures in the US. Here is another website to double-check. BLM land closed some showers/bathrooms. Campsites in southern Canada closed as far as I have seen.
- Private campsites closures expect and plan for closures or getting quarantine at the site. It’s also possible the government closes them due to this being a gathering place of sorts. Campsites are closed in Italy. Private campsites are closing in the US (March 22).
- Airbnb can kick anyone out of a stay in progress (even a long term one) with 24 hours or less notice. The owner only has to say that they need the place for themselves and that’s it. No proof (from what I saw when I was booted) and you’re out. Short term rental sites like Airbnb are being restricted depending on local laws. You may not be able to move after lockdown goes into place, or bookings under 30 days may not be allowed. It may only be open to those health care workers, those in quarantine or those homeless. It depends where you are, but be prepared for both of those to happen.
- General movement restriction. Italy and China have been especially strict with movement. The US and many other countries will not have the power or resources to restrict movement to this degree. The US and Canada are headed towards if not already in “Shelter in Place” (March 22).
Hunker down in one location as best you can. In the restricted regions of Italy you have to put in a special request to be able to move apartments. You cannot move outside the area other than for special circumstances, of which mold avoidance will certainly not be one of them. The US is restricting movement between states in some areas.
- Forced quarantine, especially when crossing borders is too risky for those with high reactivity to indoor housing. I would not move countries at this point (mid March).
Where should you hunker down?
In most of the Western world now is the time to start to secure your location if you are doing mold or HT avoidance, or are homeless from chemical sensitivities.
A couple of people have bought vans and trailers to create a stable (or flexible) place to stay during the viral pandemic.
Though most are simply looking for a stable location where they can stay in one place.
Where to park or camp
If you are on the road I would start to look for places where you can stay for the next three months.
I would not bank on a campsite staying open – I would have another backup plan as well.
With government campsites closing in the US and parts of Canada, I would also expect more or all government campsites to close down.
Some people have moved over to BLM land in the US, however that does not seem like the safest place to be in the long term in terms of accessing resources while on the move. They are starting to shut bathrooms and showers (March 15).
It could be possible to wait it out by camping off the radar on BLM land, especially if you have no other option, but it’s not too clear what kind of complications you might face with movement and getting supplies or if you do get sick yourself.
Check out new sites that have opened to help folks find places to part their RV like NomadParky. There are Facebook groups as well.
My severe flu while camping:
I did get a severe respiratory flu with (and Erichlia at the same time) two years ago while camping in Florida. My tent washed out in a storm the night I got sick and I ended up forced to sleep in a truck that I was reacting to.
Luckily I did have that truck as a backup and I was warm enough.
Make sure you have supplies of food, water and what you need to stay warm if you get sick.
While both my helper and my one friend also had a severe flu and couldn’t help me, I did have a stockpile of bottled water, canned soup, and replacement gear. I had little choice but to wait it out until others recovered and could help me get a new tent set up.
While the situation worked out, it was close to deadly for both me and my friend who had a fever of 105.
Camp/park on private property
This would be the time to start looking at places you could park your RV, car, van, or pitch your tent on private property where you will have some safety, privacy and stability. You can ask around with people you know if you can park or camp there.
You could also look at regular market rental houses that have a parking spot or backyard.
The safest bet right now is a regular market rental now a friend’s or family’s place. More below.
Accessing BnBs During the Pandemic- pros and cons
The final option is of course to rent a BnB. I have been following the price changes that are related to the virus outbreak.
There are a few challenges with Airbnbs but it could be a good option for many.
One benefit is that prices are coming down in many places. They came down slowly until the area is severely affected by the virus or there is a full travel ban, and only then they are coming down by a lot.
There are few places just outside of lockdown cities where prices have gone up as people try and escape the city lockdown!
If cases are on the rise in your area this may be the time to negotiate a medium-term 1 to 3 months stay with a host. Hosts will start looking for more stability with their rentals and might be looking for fewer people coming and going. In most places right now this would be the time to negotiate a monthly rate and longer stay. Get checked in before your area goes into lockdown.
There will, of course, be some people that need to come back to their own BnB themselves if things go badly, since some people are actually renting out their own house.
Anyone can be booted with 24 hours notice from a bnb they are currently living in even if it’s a long term rental. They only need to tell Airbnb they need the rental for themselves or their family and you are out just like that.
Be very cautious with a room in a house or any shared property since they may decide (and I think it’s more likely than not) that they do not want to have the risk of anyone sharing their house if things escalate.
I would ask the owner upfront if there’s any chance that they would need the property for themselves if the outbreak gets worse, and how else the outbreak could affect their plans to rent out the bnb. I asked the owner where I was staying this she lied about it and booted me with 3 hours notice (by the time she actually got ahold of me it was only 3 hours).
The most ideal situation, for those living in RVs, cars and tents, would be to afford to rent a whole house where you can safely park or pitch a tent without anybody’s interference.
It appears that some bnbs are being taken off the site and converted to regular long term housing. So you might find them in regular classifieds. Though in many places you cannot view a long term rental before signing a lease.
In some places there are government restrictions on being able to move into a short term rental like the vacation rentals or you may only be able to book more than 30 days. Check into your rental before the lockdown starts.
Back up plans
Now is the time to lock in to a rental if you haven’t already.
If you are relying on a bnb/vacation rental, your rights are not as strong as if you were in a regular market rental. If hotels and campsites close and if you can’t view regular rentals make sure you have an idea for a backup plan.
What about hotels?
Hotels are a little riskier based on what’s been happening in countries with a high infection rate.
It looks to me from what has been happening in China and Europe that some hotels are closing down due to lack of business and it’s possible to get kicked out.
A smaller family-run hotel could find themselves have too many employees ill to continue running it, along with lack of business.
There are of course a few horror stories out there as well, in the Canary Islands one hotel where there was a confirmed infection went under total quarantine.
This means you could get stuck in a hotel that may not turn out to be mold safe for many weeks or months.
Some hotels are being used as quarantine facilities themselves.
In California they are using them to house those who are homeless. Some are used to house health care workers. Some are staying open to both health care workers and regular bookings (look for extended stay rentals you might be able to book something monthly and it might be a place you can stay).
In China many hotels are temporarily shut down. In Italy, it does not look like as many are completely shut. But with extreme restrictions on movement, you may be de facto quarantined to that location.
Should you leave the country for a safer or warmer place?
Although it might be tempting to leave for the Caribbean or a country that does not yet have the outbreak, there is no guarantee that this will be a safer option in the long term.
Update: The window for this strategy has passed in most of the world (March 18). Most countries are canceling travel insurance, you almost certainly have to come home unless you are working overseas.
Although some have left where they were living in order to come back home in February, I would not leave your home country for another location at this moment (mid March) unless there was a specific spot that you know would be safe and you are prepared to stay there until summer.
If you do need to come back home after leaving, it’s possible you could be put into quarantine upon reentry. Most people are put into self-quarantine. If there is an outbreak on a ship or plane you may be put into forced quarantine.
You would also have to see if you have the needed medical and other supports in the country you want to go to.
Risks that are particularly Worrisome for those Severely Ill with Environmental Illness
The risk of being put into quarantine is a severe risk for mold avoiders, those with high MCS and those with limited functioning.
Those returning from cruise ships have put into military housing which should not be assumed to be mold safe.
Those crossing certain borders are being put into quarantine housing. You would not want to be forcefully quarantined in a hotel or other facility chosen by the government if you are mold and chemically sensitive.
For those relying on caregivers, expect shortages of caregivers and for all companies to cut back on hours as any sick employees will be mandated to stay home for two weeks.
I would stock up on things that you are able to eat without cooking like soup in tetra packs, baby food, juice, as well as frozen foods. Anything that could help you get by with fewer helpers.
Grocery delivery services are overloaded and they don’t seem to have found a way to prioritize those who are physically disabled, or very sick.
More grocery stores are offering delivery than were before.
Restaurants are expanding to offer delivery, so keep checking call them and tell them your needs.
Check with local groups in your area many people are volunteering to deliver groceries and many people are out of work and looking for small jobs doing deliveries.
As the crisis progressed it actually became easier to get help that before, but there was a blip between those two situations.
Challenges for those HT sensitive:
For those with HT, if there is any chance of post office closures where you are, stockpile your absolute necessities as much as you can
Special cleaning products for HT, clothes, soap and other necessities that HT avoiders need must be kept safe somewhere.
This is of course a huge challenge and it may be worth taking out a storage locker.
Those who were relying on gyms for storage lockers or showers should have other plans in place.
Clothing stores are closing in affected areas, in less affected areas they are cutting back on hours.
Supplement stores are delayed with their orders due to stockpiling.
All non essential items on amazon .com and .ca are delayed.
Those on the move due to HT avoidance should consider a clean break now (mid march, if doing a clean break do it now time is running out for what’s needed to do this).
Please get in touch if you need help making a safe housing plan.