NY Health Dept Strikes Down Camp Scheme of Monday-Thursday Overnight

NY Health Dept Strikes Down Camp Scheme of Monday-Thursday Overnight

New York - The state health department is knocking down a plan some camps have scheduled to get around a ban on overnight camp, saying that even one night in camp is prohibited.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo placed a dagger in the overnight camp industry when he announced two weeks ago a ban on camps this season, citing the difficulty in adhering to social distancing guidelines in that setting. Camps have since scrambled to find ways to provide solutions to the approximately 40,000 children who rely on them. Some have moved to locations in nearby states while others moved to a strictly day program.

Some camps have said that they would open a limited overnight program from Monday morning until Thursday evening, meaning that it be open for overnights for less than half a week.

The latest guidance from the health department Thursday scratches that option. It noted that overnight children’s programs are considered non-essential businesses that remains prohibited to operate at all.

“Accordingly,” the advisory said, “the prohibition against overnight children’s camps applies even if the camp alters its operations to offer programs of less than 72 consecutive hours.”

 The health department memo also mentioned another proposal by camps to operate as temporary residences, which are considered essential services and are allowed with social distancing, face masks and limits on gatherings.

Temporary Residence operators are reminded that all children staying overnight at their facility must be accompanied by a parent or guardian,” it added. “The operator may not accept responsibility for overnight supervision of a child.”

it is unclear whether counselors who take responsibility for a limited number of campers would qualify as a guardian.

Aside for this, a lawsuit against Cuomo’s order is scheduled to be heard in September. A separate hearing whether to allow camps to open until that hearing will be heard by a judge this coming Tuesday, with a decision expected within a day or two after that. A positive ruling would negate all these plans.

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