Coronavirus: Day camps scrambling after Quebec gives them green light to open

Despite the government’s announcement Thursday that day camps will be allowed to open as of June 22 with required coronavirus protocols, many kids may be staying home this summer.

Some will miss out due to limited spaces, with operators saying they will simply not have the staff to accommodate everyone, while others will be sheltered by parents too nervous to send their kids to camp.

“If the schools are closed until September I don’t think it’s safe to send my son to day camps,” said Anastasia Pomares while visiting Hudson’s Sandy Beach Friday with her 5-year-old son. “I used to work in a daycare and I can tell you social distancing is impossible with kids that age.”

Pomares’s sentiment is shared by many parents struggling with what to do with their kids this summer.

In the Town of Hudson, day camps have been cancelled altogether.

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“We didn’t really have a high demand for them,” town Mayor Jamie Nicholls told Global News.  “There were only about three to five inscriptions, and we usually have about 200.”  We came to that decision this week.”

He and town officials suspect COVID-19 fear is what is keeping parents from signing up their kids.

Beaconsfield camps will start in early July and continue for seven weeks.

“Our registration for day camps is tomorrow,” said City Manager Patrice Boileau.

Officials have been planning for weeks but Boileau expects camps to be different from other years.

“So far we have planned that we should get about 60 per cent of normal registration,” he said, suggesting it’s partly due to COVID-19 concerns, but also because more parents are either working from home these days or not working right now.

Boileau said staffing might also be a problem.

“We probably lost about 25 percent already of our staff that would have normally come back,” he explained.

Boileau said money will be another challenge, since ensuring new safety measures are in place will increase the cost of running the camps.

“I figure it’s gonna cost at least 50 per cent more to run the camps”, he said, “and we’re figuring a $100,000 less in revenues for day camps,” adding that fees won’t increase this year.

Boileau says they hope to get some help from the provincial government, something Quebec Premiere François Legault said he’s open to.

Other neighbourhoods and operators are still figuring out what to do.

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