Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.28 7 Jul 2021


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Summer camp organisers say they need more clarity about whether indoor classes and activities can go ahead this summer.

Under the current guidelines, the Government has said summer camps may proceed.

However, in response to a parliamentary question, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly added: "Camp organisers must ensure adherence to the public health measures in place at the time of the summer camp.

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"The public health measures in place will, for example, guide the numbers permitted in pods for both indoor and outdoor activities and whether indoor catering is permitted."

While outdoor sports training for adults and children is currently allowed in 'pods', restrictions around the likes of indoor group training, exercise and dance have yet to be lifted.

Organisers of some summer camps believe the current situation is confusing and ambiguous, and now want more clarity around the rules.

Alison Vard Miller of Miss Ali Stage School told Newstalk Breakfast she just wants to know whether her business will be able to operate during the summer holidays.

Summer camp organisers want clarity around rules for indoor classes

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She said: “Basically, the last word was in June and we were permitted to have individual training - so one child and a teacher per studio. Of course, that is incredibly tricky - for myself and my own business, we’d [usually] have 20 per studio… and I’d do the same for the summer camps too.

“Here we are in July hoping we could do something on July 5th. Obviously, that’s now changed. The most recent [update] is we can have pods or groups of up to six - I’m just not clear… as to clarifying how many pods of six that I [can have]."

Alison said she now wants to get her school up-and-running again, but like many other businesses they've already suffered a huge financial hit over the last 12 months.

She said: “We’re down in Dundrum, with huge overheads - [and] I know everyone has overheads.

“I’d love to open… the children need it. But as a business, we need to [make sure] we don’t lose our hat.

“I think everyone’s interpreting this in different ways… [we just want] more clarity on numbers, across dancing, singing and acting.”

She said they want to get trading again, but any reduction in the number of children allowed to attend their camps means she needs to figure out whether that's financially viable.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Carson Ganci/Zuma Press/PA Images

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