New York Summer Camps Get Green Light to Reopen Statewide as NYC Nears Phase 1

Camp Pixel plans to limit camp groups to five kids and take social distancing precautions upon opening. Photo  courtesy of the camp
Camp Pixel plans to limit camp groups to five kids and take social distancing precautions upon opening. Photo courtesy of the camp
6/4/20 - By Jody Mercier

New York parents and day camp directors alike got some much-needed good news this week: Summer camps statewide will be allowed to open on June 29, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday. 

While the order applies only to summer day camps (no decision on sleepaway yet), the decision offers some parents weary after months of distance learning a helping hand on the horizon. 

This summer is sure to look different than years past—both at camp and elsewhere—but the other good news is that after 80 days on lockdown, New York City moves into Phase 1 of reopening Monday, while the Mid-Hudson and Long Island Regions are likely to enter Phase 2 next week if necessary health metrics are met.

Read on for more details on summer camps and the other reopenings each NY region can expect soon. Visit our Summer Camp Guide for open local camp slots. You can also register for our upcoming Online Camp Fair, where you can attend live panels and info sessions with camps and explore virtual info booths for online and in-person camps. We've also got a safety summer camp checklist to help everyone have a healthy camp experience. 


Summer Camp Guidelines

Though many camps have already made the decision to go virtual this summer, others have been optimistic about opening in-person camp options. While the governor's announcement makes in-person operations possible, there are many details to iron out. The state has not yet issued guidelines for summer camp safety, but the CDC has published a wide-ranging set of recommendations that are likely to serve as a blueprint. Small groups, outdoor activities, the use of masks, good hygiene, and social distancing are likely to be emphasized.

Some camps celebrated the news as soon as it was announced with social media postings and email blasts declaring their intent to open, while others are still taking a wait-and-see approach. A couple of notable openings include Deerkill Day Camp and Camp Pixel. Big-name local NYC camps that have transitioned to online-only models for this year include the Children's Museum of the Arts, 92nd Street Y, and Lavner Camps. Others, like the popular Park Slope Day Camp, are awaiting further direction before making a final decision.

Also of note: A decision on sleepaway camps is expected in the coming weeks. Summer day camps in New Jersey and Connecticut have also been given the green light to open by their respective governors. As in New York, some tri-state camps are opening, while others are going virtual for summer 2020.

NYC is preparing for the reopening of non-essential retail for in-store and curbside pickup and delivery. Photo by Ros Muggeridge

NYC Readies for Phase 1 Reopening

The five boroughs are on-track for a Phase 1 reopening on Monday, June 8. That brings with it the reopening of non-essential retail for in-store and curbside pickup and delivery, plus the resumption of construction, manufacturing, and wholesale. If NYC continues to keep infection rates low, the city will move into Phase 2 two weeks later. Speaking of which ...

Stony Brook Harbor and Kayak Rentals offers kayak and paddleboard rentals for an enjoyable day on Long Island's North Shore. Photo courtesy of the company

Westchester and Long Island Enter Phase 2 Next Week

The Mid-Hudson Region, home to Westchester, and Long Island are each about two weeks ahead of the five boroughs and are expected to hit Phase 2 next week. Phase 2 reopenings include outdoor dining, as well as personal services like hair salons and barbershops. Low-risk outdoor recreation is also included in Phase 2, which means we might see the reopening of some of these spots renting kayaks, rowboats, pedal boats, and more on Long Island or in Westchester soon.

When Will Daycare Reopen?

With summer camps opening, the question of daycare reopening is a natural one. New York has not announced any decisions on daycares reopening yet. In neighboring New Jersey, daycares for non-essential workers are set to reopen June 15. All along, education and recreation have both been classified as Phase 4 industries, so there might still be a long wait on New York daycare.

Will Schools Reopen in September?

This question is top of mind for all parents, students, and teachers alike. Governor Cuomo has said a decision will likely not come until July and prior to it being made, individual districts will need to submit reopening plans to Albany for his consideration.