A borrowed RV in his driveway is home now for Michael Avila-Cabral. It’s where he’s slept for the past two weeks, after working as a physician’s assistant in a San Bernardino emergency room treating patients with coronavirus.
“We’ll do the best we can, and weigh the risk versus benefit. Try to find that balance,” Michael said. “Some of them are coming in very, very sick and they’re being admitted and being treated.”
Yucaipa, where Michael lives with his family, has just over 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the most of any city in San Bernardino county. So he and Gregory Avila-Cabral decided the best way to protect their two boys – and each other -- was for Michael to isolate.
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“Having to tell our kids that papa is going to stay in the RV, and you can't go see him, you can’t touch him, you can’t hug him, it’s hard for them to kind of understand,” Gregory said.
Michael and Gregory originally thought the RV, borrowed from Michael’s sister, was a saving grace, until they were told they were violating the rules of their home owners’ association.
The HOA told Gregory that under the current rules, the family could be fined if they don’t move the RV within 10 days.
“To me, I don’t see how that’s fair when you have somebody who is on the frontlines that’s giving of themselves for the community, willingly,” Gregory said.
And if the RV has to be moved somewhere else, Michael says it would mean “losing that contact with the family.”
Their neighbors seem to be supportive of Michael’s temporary isolation plan.
“The HOA needs to make that exception. They can poll the neighborhood. I don’t think anyone would object,” neighbor Rob Challinor said.
The HOA has not yet responded to NBCLA about the situation, and Gregory wants to make it clear, “This is not something permanent. We don’t intend to keep the RV here.”
Yucaipa Mayor David Avila said the city code prohibits RVs from parking on the street for longer than 72 hours, but under the city’s state of emergency declaration, that is no longer the case.
So if the HOA won’t adjust its rules, Michael has the option of moving his RV to the street to avoid HOA fines.