NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As New York City prepares for Phase 1 of reopening Monday, there’s concern among some parents returning to work that there will be fewer places offering child care.
The Katmint Learning Initiative, an education-based child care center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, is Andre Farell’s life’s work.READ MORE: Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued For Parts Of New York, New Jersey
But, since the COVID-19 outbreak, Farell has had to permanently close two of his three centers and lay off half the staff.
Farell fears he could lose it all as his finances worsens.
“It hurts every day,” Farell said to CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez. “I pray that we are able to remain standing and be here for everyone post-COVID. Because if not, I just… I mean, who’s gonna care for the city’s children?”
In April, the city Health Department mandated a shutdown of all independent, education-based childcare centers and preschools.
Many are worried the centers will never reopen with little to no tuition coming in.
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Kamila Faruki owns four Manhattan schoolhouse facilities, but only one is open to provide emergency child care for the city’s essential workforce. She has had to lay off 30 teachers to stay afloat.
“When we strictly look at the governor’s phase plans, it says the child care centers are part of Phase 2 openings,” said Faruki. “However, when we reach out to the department of education or the department of health, they do not clarify that.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said it will be months before the city can allow child care centers to reopen to normal capacity.READ MORE: 3 Accused Of Stealing Elderly Woman's Purse At Upper West Side Movie Theater
“But we are going to work with the child care providers to make sure that they do make it through because we’re going to need them deeply, as we go through the phases ahead,” said de Blasio.
Sharifa Hodges, founder of Seneca Village Montessori in Crown Heights, said providers like her are running out of time.
“We still have to pay insurance. We still are paying our payroll loss. We’re still having to buy supplies. All those things and expenses do not go away,” said Hodges. “Without aid, the child care industry is just going to be demolished.”
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Members of Congress have proposed a $50 billion bailout for the child care industry for the next coronavirus relief package.
According to the Centers for American Progress, 50% of New York’s child care suppliers could disappear without enough federal funding.
“They really have to focus on child care because that’s the backbone of the working family,” Faruki said.
Child care providers say without them, the city can’t reopen.MORE NEWS: Robert Durst Hospitalized With COVID-19, His Lawyer Says