New York Day Camps Can Open; No Decision on Sleepaway Camps

new york day camps
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking at a press briefing, Tuesday.

Day camps in New York state will be allowed to open at the end of this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday, offering some relief to children who have been home for the past two-and-a-half months during the coronavirus shutdown.

The day camps can open June 29, under safety guidelines that will be released in the coming days. No decision has been made yet on sleepaway camps.

Opening camps is a priority for parents and children who have been cooped up for months under the coronavirus lockdown.

Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and state Sen. Simcha Felder – who represent Brooklyn districts in which many large families live in small homes, and where, like the rest of the state, coronavirus infection numbers have been sharply down for weeks – applauded the announcement Tuesday.

“Summer camp provides an outlet for children and much needed break for their parents,” said Eichenstein. “Our young people have experienced both the trauma and the boredom of all these weeks of lockdown. They deserve to enjoy a safe summer filled with fun.”

Felder called the announcement “is a good first step.”

“We can celebrate once we review the details and camp directors confirm that they are feasible,” said the senator. “At this point, I remain cautiously optimistic that we will find a way to offer children and their parents a safe social environment where kids can be kids. Education in every form is essential.”

By next Monday, all regions of the state will have begun Phase I of the reopening process; some are already beginning Phase II.

But on Tuesday, Eichenstein and New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger wrote a letter to Cuomo, urging him to allow the “unmitigated reopening” of the economy.

“Our small businesses are shuttered. Unemployment is at record highs, while still unknown
is how many lost jobs will be recoverable in the short term, if at all,” wrote Eichenstein and Yeger. “Our children’s skills and knowledge are regressing at unknowable rates. Unrest is growing at exponential levels. Withering before our eyes is the pulse that once made New York great.”

Protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis, have been permitted, which the letter says has “rendered a continued lockdown at this point ludicrous.”

“New Yorkers are unemployed, broke, anxious and emotionally drained,” the letter says. “We need an infusion of hope, a burst of energy, a restoration of normalcy. Our neighbors need their lives back fully and completely. We need to heal.

“The only way for any of this to happen is to allow for an unmitigated reopening.”

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