MARYLAND, USA — While the COVID-19 outbreak continues to bring closures and cancellations throughout the DMV area, it also raises challenges for parents whose children were forced outside the classroom.
Though Maryland schools will close for two weeks attempting to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, daycare centers in the state are electing to remain open.
Shaun Rose, President of Rock Spring Children's Center in Bethesda says that child care services at this time are just as important due to many parents with children having to still work, given certain circumstances.
"In order for people who are 'essential' during this challenge that we're facing to work, those that have kids need child care," Rose said. "Back up care might typically be a grandparent and in this situation, it might not be feasible. So it makes it all more important that you have childcare for these people."
Rose states that while those who are not going into work physically but are working remotely during the outbreak to slow the spread of COVID-19, bringing in the scenario of watching a child or children while working is difficult.
"Even the people who aren't having to go to work that are able to work remotely, you can't really do so when you're trying to take care of an infant, a toddler, or even a young child," Rose said. "Anyone with children at the moment is struggling through this without child care or schools being open."
On Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses in the state to close – that includes bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and other places where crowds could gather that are not critical to the infrastructure of day-to-day life.
During Monday's press conference, Hogan thanked the Marylanders who have been social distancing and staying at home but cautioned those who have not complied.
Other additional businesses, organizations, and facilities that can remain open in the state are:
- Businesses and institutions involved in the research and development, manufacture, distribution, warehousing, and supplying of (i) pharmaceuticals; (ii) biotechnology therapies; and (iii) medical devices, diagnostics, equipment, and services.
- Auto and truck dealerships.
- Bicycle shops.
- Private security firms.
- Companies providing moving and storage of household items.
- Printers and sign shops.
- Companies and organizations providing support for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
- Engineering, surveying, architectural, and interior design firms.
- Title companies.
- Motorcycle parts stores and repair shops.
- Companies that provide portable tents, portable flooring, portable lighting, portable toilets, portable handwashing stations, portable HVAC and other related equipment.
- Companies that rent tools and/or equipment.
"Unfortunately, many people are still not taking it seriously," Hogan said. "There were crowds of people visiting the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., and large gatherings on the beach in Ocean City and on the boardwalk. If you are engaged in this kind of activity, you are breaking the law, and you are literally endangering the lives of your family, your friends, and fellow citizens."
Multiple daycare providers told WUSA 9 that they are struggling to make ends meet. Some who operate out of their homes said they typically look after up to 10 children at a time.
Now, they said parents have kept their kids home, leaving them to look after only one or two children. Some said they need the income, but they are also concerned about the lack of social distancing.
One daycare provider sent WUSA 9 the following message:
On top of all of that, the states small business relief grants and loans do not apply to sole proprietors like myself and other Daycare Providers. Well, I guess some sole proprietorships. Just not ones as small as ours, where we are our only employee."
Other day care providers agreed, saying they do not have access to the same grants and loans if they run child care out of their homes. Still, they are putting safety first and shutting down for the time being.
The Governor said they are committed to helping small business owners throughout the process, but saving lives was his administration's first priority.
The closure of all non-essential businesses began at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23.
Check the status of the virus in your state with your state health department's websites by tapping below: