Overnight children’s camps prohibited for 2020 season in New York due to pandemic

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In this image taken on April 29, 2013, salted oatmeal s’mores are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has decided to prohibit overnight children’s camps from operating in the 2020 season due to COVID-19.

Day camps in the state are approved to open, but overnight camps are a difficult setting to manage social distancing, face covering, and infection control practices, Dr. Zucker said in a Friday press release.

“Overnight camps have congregate settings and sleeping arrangements in close quarters that present too many risks,” Zucker said.  “In such a setting, even a single positive case in a camper or staff member could create an untenable quarantine situation and overwhelm camp health personnel that may not be able to handle a serious infectious outbreak of this nature.”

He added that this decision, like other decisions made for the state amid the pandemic, was made based on data and science, rather than emotion.

“I have fond memories of summer sleepaway camp as a kid and I understand the role they play in childhood development and the disappointment this decision may bring to families across the state- but amid the worst public health crisis in a century, my number one priority is the health and safety of all New Yorkers,” Zucker said.  “And while infection rates are declining, we need to proceed with caution and take every step possible to avoid undoing all the progress New Yorkers have made in bending the curve and reopening the state safely and responsibly.”

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