COVID-19: Maine Overnight Summer Camps – DECD Checklist for Summer 2020 Operations

Maine overnight summer camps are permitted to open on July 1, as part of Phase II of the state’s reopening schedule. To help camps prepare for that date, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has released its checklist for summer camp operations during COVID-19. The checklist includes guidance on Maine’s 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state campers and staff and outlines operations requirements for preventing the spread of infectious disease at Maine summer camps.

14-Day Quarantine Requirement

Governor Mills’ 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state visitors remains in effect. To understand how this requirement impacts out-of-state campers and staff, DECD has issued guidance based on the duration of a camp session.  It is important to note that the 14-day quarantine must be completed in the state of Maine. Fulfilling this requirement is complicated by the fact that lodging is only available to out-of-state residents beginning July 1.

Duration of Camp Session

Out-of-State Campers

Out-of-State Staff

One session per summer lasting longer than two weeks.

Out-of-state campers permitted to attend; not required to quarantine for 14-days prior to arrival at camp (though recommended).

Out-of-state staff permitted; must conduct 14-day quarantine in Maine prior to arrival at camp.

Multiple sessions per summer with sessions lasting fewer than two weeks.

Only Maine campers permitted to attend.

Out-of-state staff permitted; must conduct 14-day quarantine in Maine prior to arrival at camp.

Multiple sessions per summer with sessions lasting two weeks or longer.

Out-of-state campers permitted to attend; must conduct 14-day quarantine prior to arrival at camp.

Out-of-state staff permitted; must conduct 14-day quarantine in Maine prior to arrival at camp.

Key Operations Requirements – Preventing the Spread of Infection

DECD recommends that, unless and until federal immigration and travel restrictions are changed, summer camps not host international campers or employ temporary international staff. If international staff is allowed to travel to the U.S., all foreign staff must be screened upon arrival at camp and be quarantined for 14 days at camp prior to the arrival of campers.

Below is an overview of some key considerations in the checklist to provide camps with a sense of the operations requirements – camps should review the full DECD checklist for a complete understanding of the requirements.

  • Screening and Arrival. Camps must implement procedures for screening campers for potential COVID-19 symptoms both prior to their arrival and upon their arrival to camp.
  • Physical Distancing and Group Size. There are many considerations related to group size and physical distancing, depending on a summer camp’s operations. Examples include:
    • Limit camper units (“households”) to the smallest practical group size based upon cabin arrangements. Sleeping areas should be arranged maximizing the space between campers and staff. If possible, divide larger cabins into smaller sleeping groups. Bedding should be arranged head-to-toe.
    • Consider serving meals one household at a time and avoid buffet-style lines by serving boxed or individual meals.
    • Limit large gatherings and events. Large gatherings outdoors should maintain six feet between households.
  • Hygiene, Cleaning, and Supplies The DECD checklist contains many recommendations, including: have enough high-touch supplies for each camper (markers, toys, etc.,); separate campers’ belongings to avoid mixing of personal items; develop physical distancing procedures for bathrooms; ensure use of face coverings when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Transportation and Visitors  Camps should try to limit camper travel to and from the camp site as much as possible. Visitors to the camp should be restricted to essential personnel – out-of-state parents should not be permitted to visit unless they have first conducted a 14-day quarantine in Maine.
  • Staff Days Off – DECD is strongly recommending that staff with direct camper contact (cabin counselors, activity and program leaders) remain on camp property for the duration of the camp session except for medical or other essential errands. This means keeping staff on camp property on their days off, unless the camp serves only Maine children.
  • Response Plan – Camps should have a communicable disease plan in place to identify and isolate campers and staff with potential COVID symptoms.  This plan should include staff training to recognize those symptoms, a process for isolating individuals pending determination of COVID status, transportation to health care facilities for testing, and regular communication with public health officials in the event of a confirmed case.

For questions about reopening overnight summer camps in Maine, or any other issue or concern related to reopening your business, please contact firm attorneys Meg LePageElizabeth Frazier, or Newell Augur.