I’m not going to lie. Coming up with the mask policy for Cowabunga’s in Manchester, NH was one of my least favorite thing to do during this pandemic. We aren’t doctors. We are parents. We are small business owners. We aren’t 100% sure what the right answer is. But, we KNOW we want to take every precaution available, while still having families enjoy our space.
There are so many unanswered questions about COVID-19, so we decided to open with the most conservative approach. We are requiring masks in our PUBLIC AREA for a majority of your stay for ages 3 and older. This includes while kids are playing. However, you can take them off, when seated at a table eating and drinking as they are distanced from each other. The simple reason :: Kids don’t always physically distance when playing.
PRIVATE PARTIES have different rules as these are small groups of friends and family.
We know mask usage angers some people. We get it. We want you to know that we understand both sides. But … IT IS WHAT IT IS. And, we hope New Hampshire can continue to work together to take any and all precautions to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
We are using a LAYERED safety approach, not just relying on masks.
In addition to the traditional “Cowabunga’s” business model, we opened The Learning Lab in August of 2020. We started small with a handful of amazing families trusting up to provide remote learning care for their children. These children have taught us soooo much.
During the couple of weeks with us, we have required masks when they are moving around our place & while playing as we felt like this is the safest and mimics what schools are doing. The truth is, most kids spend 6 hours with us and at least half (sometimes more) is spent maskless, sitting at their desks learning. While seated, they are able to physically distance themselves from each other.
But, once they get up — all bets are off. They all know to put on their masks and the fun begins. We remind them to keep a distance from each other, but there are times they briefly come into close contact with each other. They are KIDS that want to interact and play together. We want to encourage play in the safest way.
Do they get hot and sweaty while playing? Yes! But, we don’t notice any different from any other pre-COVID-19 play time. Our school aged children are taught to self identify when they need a mask & drink break!
Do they care about wearing masks? Not really. They care the most when they have a mask that’s ill fitting. In that case, we do offer up a disposable mask that fits better. They continue playing and love not having to adjust their mask constantly.
What if you come and your child won’t keep their mask on? We will help encourage them & offer them a disposable mask to try. If all else fails, we will refund your play pass if they can’t play.
Like everyone, we look forward to the time when we can get back to no masks. Until then, we will continue to do the best we can.
Feel free to reach out to me, Kelly, if you have any feedback on this policy. I ask that you come from a respectful place! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.