Reopen News: Day camps take steps to reopen for summer as pandemic wanes

MELVILLE, Long Island (WABC) -- Camps are preparing to open up across New York as the coronavirus pandemic wanes, and steps are being taken to increase cleanliness to keep campers safe.

When Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announcing that state day camps can open as of June 2, Crestwood Day Camp in Melville and many others wasted no time regrouping and are now planning for a seven-week session.

Crestwood owner Mark Transport was candid when asked if parents can feel certain it is safe.

"We are not going to tell parents that things are 100% safe, because that would not be true," he said. "However, at this point, we see that parents and kids have changed their mindset. They are out and about."

Camp officials will strictly follow new protocols from the CDC and the New York State Health Department.

"We're going to keep kids in very small groups, and they're not going to interact with other children like they have in past years," he said. "Probably somewhere between 12 and 20 kids."

Families can also expect limited or no bus service at all, and on rainy days, no camp -- that's because the goal is all outdoors all the time.

Another big question from many parents is if children will have to wear masks at camp, and the simple answer is no. But do expect counselors who deal closely with children to be wearing face coverings.

It was a tough decision for the Cerina family, but 5-year-old Hunter and 3-year-old Harlie are going.

"It's time for them to get back to having some fun and being with friends," mom Melissa Cerina said. "I'm excited for them to have the opportunity to be playing in the pool and splashing and learning how to swim."

Crestwood's owners estimate that half to two-thirds thirds of parents will send their kids, but they say they certainly understand those who don't feel ready.

"That I was able to provide a space suit for their children and never see a microbe for the next month, they're not going to send them," Trasnport said. "And we respect whatever parents want."

He says what's important is families now have a choice.

All the kids who come back will need a simple swab or saliva COVID test less than a week before the kickoff, now slated for July 6.

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