TAMPA, Fla. - Working families across the Bay Area are left scrambling heading into the summer as counties announce cancellations of summer camps amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have taken to social media to complain that they need summer programming in order to continue working.
Hillsborough County announced late Thursday that all county-run parks & recreation summer camps are canceled this year to limit the spread of COVID-19. And Hillsborough is not the only county pulling the plug.
Polk County also announced this week it is cancelling summer camps and recreation programming, including Camp R.O.C.K, Summer Frenzy, A to Z Nature Camp and Discover Center.
“This difficult decision was made due to the many challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Parks and Natural Resources Director Gaye Sharpe said in a Facebook post. “The health and safety of our campers, parents and staff is paramount during this challenging time.”
Over in Pasco, there’s been no final decision yet, but the county's parks and recreation department is postponing registration for summer day camp until further notice due to COVID-19 concerns.
An announcement on the county’s website reads, “Pasco County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources takes the health and well-being of our residents and team members seriously, and is committed to following current Florida Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.”
County officials will make a final announcement within the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, when you check the Pinellas County website -- camp registration was still active as of Friday morning, but the county has cancelled all special events and gatherings of 10 or more until further notice. It’s relevant to note that the venues for two of the county's summer camps say they are closed until further notice.
In Sarasota County, the status of summer camp is in limbo. County officials are delaying registration as they monitor the ongoing situation. They said they will announce registration once phase two of reopening Florida begins, with limited availability to maintain physical distancing.
“There will be at least a three-day notice given prior to registration opening,” the announcement reads. “Camp registration will be on a weekly schedule to offer more flexibility. The number of spots available at each site will be reduced to help maintain social distancing. Registration will be online and offered first come, first served. Day camp will be offered for children between the ages of 6-11. There will be no adventure camp offered this year.”
Manatee County is suspending registration until further notice for its Summer Blast camp, according to an announcement on its website.
If these cancellations have you in a bind, experts recommend signing up for as many waiting lists as you can in case the CDC eases restrictions allowing camps to open up slots for additional kids