Michigan day camps face tough decision: Open with COVID-19 restrictions or stay closed for summer

Many camps sticking with decision to stay closed

DETROIT – With new coronavirus (COVID-19) safety guidelines in place, Michigan day camps face a difficult decision: reopen with restrictions or stay closed for the summer.

Camps would have to scramble to do their best to open.

READ: Here are all 108 executive orders issued by Michigan Gov. Whitmer during COVID-19 pandemic

Help Me Hank has learned from camp operators that many are sticking with the decision to remain closed amid the pandemic.

It depends on the community. It’s a very confusing time for parents, children and camp directors.

Summer camps are great for children and parents, but it wasn’t until June 1 that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reopened camps in Michigan.

“It’s unfortunate, but just to keep everyone safe, we’re going to move forward with no summer camps this year and hope to get our programs up and running in the fall,” said Greg Hohenberger, the director of leisure services in Canton Township.

They decided to cancel summer camps because they didn’t have enough time to get everything together.

“We had not yet hired our staff for the season before we shut down, so for us, we would have to start the hiring process, which will take us at least a month to get staff hired, and then we have a full week of training,” Hohenberger said. “We don’t want to short change our training or try to rush things to get staff that aren’t qualified in.”

While some camps are canceled for the summer, others have decided to move forward. There are programs that have scaled down, such as Sterling Heights, which is hosting virtual camps.

Officials in Sterling Heights said last year they had about 700 children. This year they hope to get about 150.

The majority of camps who spoke to Help Me Hank have decided to cancel for the summer.

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