FAMILIES staying in holiday caravans to avoid the spread of coronavirus have been left reeling after they were threatened with immediate eviction.

Dozens of people living at Coopers Beach Holiday Park on Mersea Island were told they had until 5pm today to leave or have their pitches removed.

The advice, which was issued to them by the site’s general manager, has come as a shock to many living there including key workers who have been trying to socially isolate when they are not at work.

Other families on the site have moved to their holiday caravans as a temporary measure in recent weeks to avoid contact with vulnerable family members.

The park’s general manager has told the stunned residents they need to stay in hotels or similar.

The park management has been telling people via Facebook they should leave and staying at the park is not a “solution”.

Jenny Doyle, her husband Scott, who is an HGV driver, and their six-year-old son, Alastair, had been living with family in Colchester but decamped to their caravan on the site three weeks ago to avoid Jenny’s dad who is classed as vulnerable.

The family is now in the situation of being being turfed out and moving into council-arranged bed and breakfast emergency accommodation.

PhD student Jenny, 32, said: “We’d moved in with my parents whilst I was studying as a student and have been there for the past two years.

“Dad is classed as at risk due to his age so we decided to move our family to the holiday caravan as we did not want to put him at risk of the coronavirus.

“We’ve been told that the park will be closing at 5pm today with the gate coming down and everybody should be off.

“It’s come as a complete shock. There are dozens of people here like us who will have nowhere to turn.

“There are elderly people with nowhere to go and there is a key worker who has been staying here to make sure he’s isolated when not at work.

“We’ve been pleading with the general manager, trying to make him see sense but he is not budging.

“The park is not following the Government’s own guidance and people are going to be homeless.

“How can that be fair or make sense at a time like this?

“He’s also been messaging us, telling us that it is a holiday park and not the solution.

“We’re all at the end of our tethers with worry. There are loads of worried families and this rash decision is effecting dozens of people.

“At a time of national emergency, it’s hardly the way to treat people.”

Caravan owners at Valley Farm, in Clacton, were also told they had to leave the site.

Some owners were choosing to stay in their caravans to risk infecting their vulnerable relatives at home.

A spokesman for Parkdean Resorts said the company was working hard to resolve the matter as soon as possible. 

He said: “The message to owners was clear when they were sent letters - that if they were not able to leave the park, then they should speak with the general manager. 

“We want to make sure we are not sending people off site if they do not have somewhere to live.

“We are hoping to resolve this so that all those concerned can stay on the park. 

“We will update once that has been done.”