OUR MASK POLICY ~ Updated June 10th!
Effective Thursday, June 10th, Cowabunga’s is updating our mask policy to RECOMMEND masks for all children under 12 including while playing. Masks will still be required for those 12 and older that are unvaccinated.
WE WILL STILL KEEP OUR OTHER PROTOCOLS to help reduce the spread of germs.
- FOCUS ON INDOOR AIR QUALITY. This has always been our main concern at our facilities. We realize that we don’t want germs trapped in the air. So, we use our air handling systems to the max and set them to constantly bring in fresh air. This allows particles to be swiftly pushed to the ground, where they quickly die or get sanitized. We have also use high grade HEPA filters.
- LOW CAPACITY. While we “can” be open at 100%, we realize this is not the best for the safety of our customers and staff. Choosing to remain at a VERY LOW numbers, allows families space to spread out while playing and gives each family a dedicated table to sit at.
- SANITIZING. We will continue to sanitize high touch areas regularly. While we understand that the spread of COVID-19 through surface containment is low, we feel it’s easy to do!
We know that the change to our mask policy may bring BIG EMOTIONS from all sides. We want everyone to know that we are making decisions based on the knowledge, observations and data we have collected, as well as conversations with staff and customers at both stores.
As parents ourselves and small businesses owners, we want to make informed decisions and decipher all the data available to us. Throughout the pandemic, we did take a more cautious approach as we deeply care for our customers & staff. Plus, we wanted to make sure our business thrived in a time that had unknown liability concerns.
We like to be ultra transparent about the decision to change our mask policy. Please feel free to reach out to us with your questions or concerns. Feel free to EMAIL Kelly directly!
Here’s some more information about how we came to this decision.
WHAT WAS YOUR MASK POLICY BEFORE?
Previously, we required masks for everyone ages 3 and older.
WHAT FACTORS PLAYED INTO YOUR DECISION?
There were a lot of moving parts to this decision, including ::
- Drastic decline in community spread rates
- Data from daycares that don’t require mask use
- Vaccinations are readily available to ages 12 and older, including adults deemed high risk of serious complications or death
- How would employees feel about the change in protocols?
- Are children wearing masks correctly?
- Can we limit spread with our other safety protocols?
- Is there an increased risk coming to Cowabunga’s then other indoor places?
WHY DID YOU REQUIRE THEM BEFORE?
Masks were always a part of our comprehensive list of safety protocols only because they helped stop germs from entering the air. We realize that they aren’t 100% and that’s why we had layers of protection. During the height of the pandemic when community spread rates were high, we felt it was necessary to take EVERY precaution we could.
When making a decision, we look at the community spread rates and infection rates at daycares and elementary schools when available. In addition, we observe how kids are doing with mask use while playing. In the past month, we’ve noticed more of a struggle with kids wearing masks correctly. Incorrect mask use really decreases the effectiveness.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CHECK TO SEE IF SOMEONE IS VACCINATED?
This is by the honor system. We are not going to check to see if a customer is vaccinated.
WHAT IF SOMEONE WHO IS UNVACCINATED ISN’T WEARING A MASK. WOULDN’T THAT PUT MY CHILD AT RISK?
This is absolutely a concern right now. At Cowabunga’s we use layers of safety protocols and don’t just rely on masks to stop the spread. There will be plenty of space to spread out. Also, kids aren’t hanging out with other unknown adults at our facility. We have designed Cowabunga’s so parents can also easily monitor their children and can make sure they are maintaining distance, if that is your concern.
DO YOU THINK THAT MASKS WORK?
We do think that masks help slow the spread of germs. We also realize that mask use among kids is a bit different than adults. Some children have a hard time wearing masks correctly, which drastically reduces the effectiveness.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY OUTBREAKS AT COWABUNGA’S?
No. We do not have any documented transmission at Cowabunga’s. We’ve had a few families reach out to let us know of illnesses in their children. However, all cases were traced back to other sources. We promptly reached out to families that visited during that time frame and no other families reported any additional illnesses.
CAN I STILL HAVE MY CHILD WEAR HIS/HER MASK?
Absolutely! While we are changing our policy, we don’t expect a huge decline in mask use at Cowabunga’s. Kids who are used to wearing masks will probably still do so.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT PRIVATE PARTIES?
This policy pertains to private parties as well. However, we will support parties that want to have mask use as long as they let their guests know ahead of time. This will be a little harder for us to manage, but we can definitely do so if the party parent wants.