Governor Raimondo allowing summer camps to start up on June 29

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Governor Gina Raimondo announced Thursday that summer camps will be allowed to operate in-person on June 29. The governor said that date is subject to change, depending on what the COVID-19 crisis looks like in Rhode Island at that time.

“It’s going to be fun, but different,” Raimondo said.

The governor said more guidelines on summer camps will come next week, but said camps will be required to divide children into groups of 10 or less. Those groups will have the same children and adult leaders for the entirety of the summer, to easily contact trace in case of an outbreak.

Additional guidelines include frequent handwashing and sanitizing of shared equipment after each use.

“To me, it’s great for parents that their children can come and be in a safe environment, so I think it’s critical they know it’s going to be safe, we’re gonna keep cleaning and sanitizing and have the same group of kids together,” said Steve O’Donnell, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Providence.

O’Donnell said the Y has more than 3,000 children in their summer programs, and they’ve been working on a plan to roepen for about a month.

“It’ll be different, keeping those 10 kids in stability groups the governor referred to, separate from others… but that’s what we are going to train our staff to do.”

The YMCA will have to hire more staff, he said, but the price of camp will not go up and all branches will be opening.

“There may be smaller numbers for the safety reasons, social distancing, and the numbers in the guidelines, but we’re going to open them because they’re in strategic areas in the state and we want to make sure we can service as many kids as possible,” O’Donnell said.

He added that they may even add a family camp to prevent further spread.

“Moms, dads, and their children attending some kind of camp structure together and that way they’re staying together and working within that family unit.”

The governor’s announcement is welcomed by many other camps that are financially banking on the Summer season.

“It’s been tough because we lost our biggest time of year,” said Ken Ryan, owner of KR Baseball Academy.

His training center has been closed for the last two months because of the coronavirus. He said his annual Camp Adrenaline will provide a much needed monetary boost.

He also said complying to the governor’s guidelines should be doable.

“I think there’s an opportunity here, I really do, for baseball to still be played this summer,” said Ryan.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island is also gearing up to allow in-person meetups in June.

“The backbone of our agency is that in-person meeting,” said George Evans Marley, the Director of Development and Community Relations at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island.

Until June, their meetups will continue to be virtual.

“What we’re doing right now to circumvent what’s happening is offering online experiences for our big and little matches,” said Evans Marley.

Governor Raimondo said more guidelines regarding summer camps can be found here next week.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island