• October 4th, 2022 Change to Playhouse Mask Policy

    Starting on Tuesday, October 4th, masks will be strongly recommended but not required on all days at The Children’s Playhouse. The Playhouse reserves the right to change this policy at any time based on local covid conditions. 

    Please do not visit The Playhouse if you or your child is sick, has had fever or diarrhea and/or vomiting in the past 24 hours, or has been exposed to Covid-19 in the last 10 days.

    April 15th, 2022 Update to Playhouse Mask Policy

    Effective Friday, April 15th, 2022: The Children’s Playhouse will begin offering “Masks Optional” and “Masks Required” days: Masks will be recommended but not required on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays or at private birthday parties. Masks will still be required for ages 2 and up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Playhouse staff and volunteers will continue to wear masks and families are welcome to wear masks whenever they visit, but they will only be required to do so on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

    Please do not bring your child to The Playhouse at any time if anyone in your family has been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 10 days, or has symptoms, or if anyone in your family has had fever, diarrhea, or vomiting in the last 24 hours. 

    This decision was made by the Playhouse health and safety committee after consulting with local health authorities, the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit, and the COVID-19 by County tool on the Centers for Disease Control website, cdc.gov. As of April 6, the CDC tool has rated Watauga County at a “Low” rate of transmission for the past two weeks. We will continue to monitor these sources and will reevaluate our policies on a monthly basis.

    Given the current low rates of local infection and being aware of the drawbacks of masks for some children, we are pleased to be able offer “Masks Recommended” days on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. 

    However, we are also aware that children under 5 do not yet have access to the COVID-19 vaccines, some of our visitors may be immunocompromised themselves, or be in regular contact with people who may be be at high risk. For these reasons, we are offering “masks required” days on Tuesdays and Thursdays to support families with these concerns. 

    This policy will be reevaluated monthly and may change based on changing local conditions and health recommendations.

    We will continue to utilize the reservation system at this time to avoid crowding. If you have difficulty with the form or if you want to come at a different time than the slots offered, please call 828-263-0011 and we can help you. The appointments are for staggered entry times. You are welcome to stay longer if you like but please remember food is not allowed inside The Playhouse and both outside and inside are peanut-free and nut-free zones.


    For more information on Playhouse cleaning practices and all the ways we work to make The Playhouse safe for families, please click to our COVID-19 Safety Policies.

    COVID-19 Safety Policies FAQ 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    These are the best recommendations we could find to protect you at the time of this writing. The knowledge of the virus and the safety recommendations keep evolving, however, so these policies may change in a few weeks or months. Playhouse staff will let you know of any changes when you enter.

    What happens when we arrive at The Children’s Playhouse? 

    A. Upon arrival: Everyone in your party will need to answer the following screening questions: 

    1. Have you or anyone in your household experienced any of the following symptoms in the past 72 hours: 
      • Fever or chills 
      • Cough 
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
      • Fatigue 
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Headache 
      • New loss of smell or taste
      • Sore throat 
      • Congestion or runny nose 
      • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea 
      • Pink Eye
    2. Have you or have you been in close physical contact in the last 14 days to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 or exhibited symptoms? 
    3. Are you currently waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test? 

    B. All visitors, staff, and volunteers are required to wash hands upon entry or reentry after playing outside; after using the toilet or changing a diaper; and after sneezing, coughing, or nose-blowing. Hand-washing or using hand sanitizer is also recommended before and after water or other sensory play. Hand-sanitizer is available throughout the facility. 

    Do you require masks?

    Yes, all visitors 2 and up are required to wear a mask, vaccinated or not, in an effort to protect those who are unable to be vaccinated at this time as well as those who are immunocompromised.  Masks may be cloth or disposable, but must be secured over your nose, mouth, and chin. 

    Neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas, scarves, and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings. A face shield can be worn with a face mask, but not in place of one.

    Are you providing masks for visitors?

    All visitors are expected to bring their own masks. A limited number of masks may be available at the front desk but not guaranteed. 

    What if I or my child can’t wear a mask? 

    Please wait to visit The Children’s Playhouse until you are able to wear a mask, or they are no longer required by our facility. If your child has difficulty wearing a mask due to a disability, please contact us and we will try to find a private time for your child to play safely at The Playhouse.

    What if I have received both doses of a COVID-19 Vaccine?

    Please model consistent mask wearing within The Playhouse to help keep the children safe. Because our target population of children from birth to age 8 are currently unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and we cannot be sure who is and who is not vaccinated, we ask that all visitors aged 2 and up wear a mask. This is consistent with the mandates remaining in place for childcare facilities and schools.

    Will you have a mask-free space? 

    Yes, if you or your child need a moment without masks, please see one of our staff for directions to our mask-free space, located outside the lower playground between The Children’s Playhouse and the BUUF Sanctuary. This space is limited to one (1) family at a time. 

    Given the greatly reduced chances of transmission outside, you and you child may remove your masks IF you are the only family on the playground. However, because our playgrounds are small, please replace your masks if another family enters the outside space.

    How are you enforcing social distancing? 

    Both member and nonmember visitors will have to sign up for a designated 90 minute play time and we will limit the number of families that can visit the building at any one time. As you explore The Playhouse, we ask adults to monitor the spacing between your group and the other families and to move to another space if the room becomes crowded.

    Is The Children’s Playhouse well-ventilated?

    Our building has windows to the outside in every space. We will be using carbon dioxide monitors to assess air quality and will be employing open windows, exhaust fans, and an IQAir Purification System, to ensure good ventilation inside. We also encourage families to make use of our two outside playgrounds. 

    What cleaning procedures have you implemented? 

    Prior to COVID-19, The Children’s Playhouse maintained higher than required cleaning standards. With COVID-19, we have increased facility cleaning and disinfection to limit COVID-19 exposure, especially on high touch surfaces. We have hand sanitizer stations throughout The Playhouse and sanitizing wipes available upon request. For further details, please visit https://goplayhouse.org/keepinghealthy

    Can we bring food? Are you serving coffee? 

    No food or drink are allowed inside The Children’s Playhouse or on The Children’s Playhouse playgrounds. There is a picnic table outside the lower playground. Families are asked to observe social distancing when using the picnic table and to clean up after themselves. As always, The Playhouse is a peanut-free and nut-free facility.

    We are also sorry to say that we will not be serving coffee while our mask policy is in place. You may bring a water bottle with you. You may return to your vehicle at any time if you need a water break or have a snack. We ask that you wash your hands again when you come back in. 


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