Childcare providers are struggling to stay open with limited revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis, on top of the added expense of creating socially-distanced facilities. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for a $50 billion investment in the industry.
She said with parents trying to get back to work, child care is more important than ever before. But right now, providers can’t afford it.
“Childcare providers are committed to taking the necessary health and safety precautions,” said Gillibrand. “But the measures that they have to take like acquiring more PPE, more supplies, reducing group size, modifying classroom space, sanitizing, adjusting staff, offering premium pay. All of that costs money that providers do not have.”
House Democrats allocated $7 billion to the childcare industry in their May coronavirus relief package, but Gillibrand says the need is greater now. She estimates New York childcare availability will be slashed in half without the aid. She believes that could hinder the essential workers’ aiding recovery efforts.
“Throughout this crisis, childcare providers have been the essential workers behind the essential workers,” said Gillibrand. “Taking care of children of doctors and nurses and first responders, EMTs, grocery store clerks, pharmacy clerks, all so that they can take care of the rest of our communities. They’ve stepped up when they were needed. Now, when we need them even more, it’s our turn to step up.”
Gillibrand estimates nearly half of the childcare providers have closed because of the global pandemic. She says it will take nearly $10 billion to reopen those facilities and provide child care for all essential workers.