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Are summer camps open? What are the social distancing requirements and restrictions?

Last Updated: 07/06/2020

As of July 6, youth day camps, including municipal summer programs, may operate so long as they comply with required social distancing and other mitigation policies. Residential and overnight camps are prohibited from operating.

To help protect the health and safety of our children, camp workers, and communities against the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Health has released the following guidelines for youth summer camps which include:

  • Campers and staff must be screened for fever or signs of COVID-19 illness prior to being permitted to enter the facility or participating in camp programming. Persons that have a fever or other signs of illness should not be admitted to the camp.
  • Campers and staff members should be educated on steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Groups should include the same children each day with the same staff person, if possible. Mixing between groups should be restricted. Camps should avoid communal dining and stagger mealtimes to ensure social distancing of groups. Surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized between each meal service.
  • Staff are encouraged to wear cloth masks while working unless (1) doing so would inhibit the individual's health, (2) the individual is in extreme heat outdoors, or (3) the individual is in water.
  • Cloth face coverings for staff and campers should be worn when social distancing of 6 feet between assigned groups cannot be maintained. Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on children under age two because of the danger of suffocation.
  • All youth camps are prohibited from off-site activities, engaging in full-contact sports and providing resident or overnight camp activities.
  • Handwash and hand sanitizers stations should be provided in numerous areas around the camp.
  • Common surfaces and rooms should be cleaned at least daily including restrooms and countertops.
  • Gloves should be worn when handling or serving food to campers.
  • Social distancing is encouraged during bussing/transportation to and from camp. Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected between each use. Face coverings should be worn when social distancing can't be maintained.

For a full list of required safety policies, refer to Department of Health's Executive Directive 20-021.

To open, youth camps must submit application form at least 14 days prior to the start date of camp activities and attestation form at least 24 hours prior to opening. For these forms and detailed guidance on youth summer camp standards, refer to the Department of Health's Youth Camps page.

Swimming Pools

Summer camps may use their pools when they reopen, so long as they comply with required safety protocols.

Pools must follow the appropriate requirements from Executive Order No. 153, Executive Order No. 157, and the Department of Health's Executive Directive 20-022 and COVID-19 Pools and Aquatic Recreation Facility Standards, including developing and implementing a COVID-19 Pool Operation Prevention Plan that must be submitted to and approved by the local health authority.

Safety Grants for Youth Camps

Up to $20 million in grants is available to help child care centers and youth camps meet health and safety guidelines in response to COVID-19.

Youth camps can receive up to $2,000 to purchase additional cleaning products, personal protective equipment, and other products and services. The providers must be registered with the NJ Workforce Registry and must apply through the New Jersey Child Care Information System (NJCCIS).

Source: Executive Order No. 149; https://nj.gov/health/legal/covid19/6-30-20_ExecutiveDirectiveNo20-021_ChildCare_SummerCamps.pdf; Executive Order No 153; Executive Order No. 157, DOH Executive Directive 20-022 and COVID-19 Pools and Aquatic Recreation Facility Standards,