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GNYC COVID-19 Resources

The health and safety of our Scouts, volunteers, and staff and communities has been, and remains, our top priority.

Our response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to be informed by the guidance of official bodies, including:


Excerpt from the National Boy Scouts of America Statement on COVID-19 (May 7, 2020)

“As the national response to the coronavirus pandemic shifts to a state-focused and phased approach, the Boy Scouts of America is advising local councils to consult with their local and state health departments, as well as local chartered partners, in order to implement the appropriate protocols to help keep our members, volunteers, and employees safe. Units should look to their councils for guidance on whether to conduct in-person meetings and activities again. If a unit’s local council is allowing in-person activities but has restrictions in place (e.g., no more than 10, social distancing of 6 ft. etc.), the unit must meet and abide by those restrictions – even if the unit is traveling out of council/state.”


National BSA COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions
Topics: In Person Scouting Activities, Camping, Cub Scout Advancement, Scouts BSA Advancement


Safe Does Not Equal Risk-Free

Precautions and mitigation strategies are important, but they cannot eliminate the potential for exposure to COVID-19 or any other illness when in-person activities resume. People with COVID-19 may show no signs or symptoms of illness, but they can spread the virus. Some people may be contagious before their symptoms occur.

The fact is that someone with COVID-19 may pass the required health screenings and be allowed into program activities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this group, please ensure you have approval from your health care provider prior to resuming in-person Scouting activities.

Every member, volunteer and family must evaluate their unique circumstances and make an informed decision before attending in-person activities.


Greater New York Councils – In-Person Scouting Activity Guidance

Units in the Greater New York Councils must follow the 2020 - 06-10 - GNYC Guidelines to Restart Scouting Safely that has four steps for restart. The Restart Scouting Safely Planning Guide can be used to develop the Unit’s Restart Scouting Safely Plan.

The National Council has issued additional guidance, the Restart Scouting Checklist, that should also be followed when developing the Unit Restart Scouting Safely Plan.

  • Step 1: Develop your Scout unit’s COVID-19 ‘Restart Scouting Safely’ plan with your unit committee.
    • Using the GNYC Guidelines to Restart Scouting Safely and the National Council’s Restart Scouting Checklist, create a document that:
      • Precautions found in GNYC and National guidelines for unit restart safety must be followed but should be customized on how it applies to each unit.
      • Identify location-specific processes that the unit will follow for indoor and outdoor meeting areas
      • Addresses concerns of the charter organization and parents.
  • Step 2: Share your plan with your Scout unit’s Charter Organization and Scouting Professional. Discuss other requirements and guidelines the Charter Organization may have in place, and if your Scout unit has permission to begin using their facilities/space for meetings.
  • Step 3: Communicate your unit’s plan to your Scouting families. Be sensitive to all families and consider offering a hybrid (both in-person and virtual) program to ensure all Scouts can participate. Parents should only resume Scouting when they are comfortable. Parents are highly encouraged to ask their unit leadership questions about the unit’s plan to restart Scouting safely, and a unit should ONLY begin meeting if social distancing can be assured.
  • Step 4: Monitor and adjust your unit’s plan to be current with any new council, local, state, or federal changes. Repeat steps 1-3 when changes are made.

Activity Catagories

The decision to allow activities or not allow activities, as well as the guidelines found in the ‘Restart Scouting Safely’ are based on current legal and public health allowances for organizations in the state of New York. The guidelines may become less restrictive or more restrictive based on government mandate. While we would love for Scouting to return to how things were prior to the pandemic, the return is not under our direct control.

No activities should resume in person until the unit has a reviewed Restarting Scouting Safely Plan.

For all in-person activities, as stated in the Restarting Scouting Safely Plan, families must follow the Pre Event Screening Checklist – Covid-19.

Why is Unit Camping Not Allowed?

On July 10 the New York State Department of Health issued “Temporary Residences During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” which states:

  • “On June 12, 2020 the Commissioner of Health prohibited overnight camps from operating in the State of New York during the Summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The prohibition of overnight children’s camps applies to all overnight children’s programs regardless of whether they meet the criteria in Subpart 7-2 of the State Sanitary Code to qualify as regulated overnight children’s camp.”
  • “This prohibition includes children’s overnight “camps” taking place in hotels and other accommodations typically in receipt of temporary residence permits that may encourage recreational activities, meals or other congregate events, including congregate study sessions for children under the age of 18.”
    • A unit organizing a camping trip encourages recreation activities, meals and other congregate events for youth under the age of 18. As a result, unit camping is prohibited. 
    • A unit is owned by the charter organization, not the families in the unit. The charter organization would be sponsoring the unit camping program which is prohibited by the State of New York. 
  • “Children staying overnight at a permitted temporary residence facility must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The operator of the temporary residence may not accept responsibility for the overnight supervision of the child.”
    • A parent, or guardian. and youth are able to camp as a family.  A family can camp together but may not sponsor or coordinate a group of families interacting with each other. Family camping activities are limited to that family.
  • Failure to follow the guidelines can result in “fines of up to $1,000 per violation per day.”


  • Youth Camping as an organized activity is not legal in the State of New York.
  • Camping with a parent/guardian is legal in the State of New York.
Unit Activity Guidelines
In-Person Meetings – Indoors (Updated 7/6) Allowed – Groups of up to 25 people, including at least two 21+ adults. Groups larger than 25 are prohibited from gathering indoors. Face coverings must be worn when social distancing is not possible. All participants should remain six feet apart and must wear face coverings when this social distancing is not possible. Groups of 25 should never interact with other groups of 25.
In-Person Meetings – Outdoors (Updated 7/6) Allowed – Groups of up to 25 people, including at least two 21+ adults. Groups larger than 25 are prohibited from gathering outdoors. Face coverings must be worn when social distancing is not possible. All participants should remain six feet apart and must wear face coverings when this social distancing is not possible. Groups of 25 should never interact with other groups of 25.
Unit Camping Not Allowed (NY State Guidelines)
Unit Hiking Allowed with social distancing and masks.
Unit Service Projects Allowed with social distancing and masks.
In-Person Council & District Events and Meetings Not Allowed – Virtual Events Allowed
Family Household Camping Allowed
Family Household Hiking Allowed
Scout Service Center CLOSED – Staff Working Remotely
Pouch Scout Shop CLOSED – E-Mail storeorders@bsagnyc.org for pickup or mailing
Alpine Scout Shop CLOSED – E-Mail storeorders@bsagnyc.org for pickup or mailing

Updated: 7/06/2020

Questions about Scouting related to Covid-19 should be sent to covid19@nycscouting.org.