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Maine summer camps face uncertainty during coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic

More than 20% of camps have canceled summer activities due to the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. Camps contribute $200 million to the state every year.

MAINE, USA — Maine is a place where kids from all over the world come to have fun at summer camps. In fact, more than half of campers are from out of state.

With the current COVID-19 situation, many have canceled summer sessions, while others are waiting for more specifics from the state, before making any decisions.

"Camps are going to look different. There will be fewer campers in cabins, not be competing with other camps, meals will need to be served differently," said Ron Hall.

Ron Hall is the executive director of Maine Summer Camps, an organization representing 145 camps in the state.

"Some of these kids have been going to camp for 6-7 years. It's a place where they can be themselves," said Hall.

According to Governor Janet Mills' plan, summer camps could potentially reopen in July. Her administration said specific guidelines on how camps should operate will be released sometime this month.

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"That's pretty much as much as we've received," said Laura Ordway.

Camp Winona in Bridgton is waiting for those guidelines before it makes a decision. Director Laura Ordway said as of right now, she is planning to open.

"However, the state may release guidelines that make it impossible for us to continue moving forward," said Ordway.

Pine Tree Camp is a camp for children and adults with disabilities. It decided not to run regular sessions. Instead, the camp is hosting virtual programs to bring activities to people's homes.

"We go live on Facebook and do crafts and cooking. Some of it is prerecorded video information on some of those different topics and then we also do Zoom meetings twice a week we do one that's a campfire and we do a dance party on Friday nights," said director Dawn Willard-Robinson.

Meanwhile, Hall said he doesn't know how the two-week self-quarantine will work, especially if camps can have no more than 50 people. 

All hope to get answers soon.

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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