Following an announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday to continue reopening facilities and programs in Texas, The Colony has announced it will have kids camps this summer.
As part of Phase 2 of the governor’s plan, youth camps are allowed to open May 31.
Brant Shallenburger, director of government relations for the city, told the City Council on Tuesday that plans are underway to have a kids camp at The Colony Recreation Center for 6- to 12-year-olds.
The camps are set to begin June 1 and will run weekly through Aug. 7.
Shallenburger said the city staff debated between opening the recreation center in full and providing the kids camp.
“We felt like the kids camp would be more valuable to citizens who needed the daycare in order to go back to work as opposed to opening it up for people who probably don’t need babysitters,” Shallenburger said.
He said field trips won’t be a part of the camp this year.
“One, we don’t know if (museums and other attractions) will be open,” Shallenburger said. “Two, we felt like it would be easier for us to maintain the standards we need to maintain if we are controlling that ourselves.”
Shallenburger said the city is following the safety guidelines for summer camps and daycares put out by the governor’s office.
Shallenburger said camp staff would be asked to wear masks, and if parents request that their child wears a mask during the camp the staff would do their best to make sure the child wears it.
“We can’t require it, but can encourage it,” Shallenburger said. “And if they want to do so they can send their child with a mask or not.”
Shallenburger said extra masks would be on hand, and campers’ temperatures would be taken using a no-touch device.
He said cots would be set up to isolate a child if he or she begins to feel sick during the camp.
Council members agreed that having a kids camp, even if limited, would be good for children and parents.
“The parents have really struggled for the last eight or nine weeks,” Mayor Pro Tem David Terre said. “Kids have been pretty much in the house, which has been very tough on them. If we can safely provide a summer camp for any type of relief for the kids I think it would be terrific to provide the opportunity to get the kids out, give the kids some fun and give the parents a break.”
Shallenburger said the city will open Stewart Creek Park to vehicular traffic on May 27. Hours would be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
He said there will be social distancing requirements on the pier and pavilion.
“We have plans to keep it less crazy than it might be,” Shallenburger said.
City Manager Troy Powell said the city plans to keep the library closed for now, although virtual programming for children is available, as is curbside pick-up.
Powell said the city hasn’t announced plans to open the outdoor pool.
“To be honest I’m not sure if we’re going to open that this summer,” Powell said. “It just depends on how things shake out. But there’s really no way to do social distancing in a swimming pool or splash pad. We will most likely open up the indoor swimming pool once the percentages get a little higher. That’s easier to control.”
Also in Phase 2 of the governor’s plan, overnight youth camps can take place beginning May 31 and professional sports, without in-person spectators, can resume.
Abbott said summer school can take place as early as June 1.
Effective Friday, restaurants are allowed to reopen to 50 percent capacity.
Bars, wine tasting rooms, craft breweries can reopen at 25 percent capacity.
Other facilities that can reopen Friday at a 25 percent capacity included bowling alleys, bingo halls, skating rinks, equestrian events, zoos and aquariums. Special guidelines are in place and can also be found at https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas.
Effective last Monday, child care centers, youth clubs such as YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club, youth sports, massage and personal-care businesses and beauty companies could reopen.
Businesses that are located in office buildings could reopen at the greater of 10 employees or 25 percent of its workforce provided they maintain social distancing.