By: Joshua Gras, Writer / Follow South Jersey News Reporting Intern
TRENTON, N.J. — On Wednesday, Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order to allow summer camps to open this season. The order, which includes both sleepaway and daytime camps, allows these businesses to function as long as they adhere to the guidelines set by the New Jersey Department of Health.
Many summer camps were forced to close as New Jersey formulated its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this year, the state has added additional layers of safety to make sure kids can enjoy their summers after being stuck inside for the majority of the past year.
All campers and staff members must go through daily health screenings and have policies in place in the event someone shows symptoms of COVID-19. Staff and campers are also encouraged to self-quarantine in the days leading up to the start of summer camps.
For overnight camps, those who are unvaccinated must produce a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of arrival. COVID-19 testing is mandatory within three to six days of staffers and campers’ arrival at summer camps, which must also teach campers the importance of washing their hands and covering ones mouth while coughing or sneezing.
Outdoor activities are the preferred way of engaging campers since the virus is more likely to spread indoors.
Gov. Murphy expressed optimism during his announcement citing the falling numbers of cases as well as hospitalizations within the state as reasons why camps will continue this year. He is expected to make more announcements regarding New Jersey’s reopening on Monday.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.