California’s economy is slowly reopening, indicated by increased sales, fewer unemployment claims, and more traffic. But many residents who cannot work from home may yet be unable to work from the office or the shop because they cannot secure care for their children.
Recognizing this significant impediment to restaffing business operations and providing stability for employees, executives from 41 state chambers of commerce, including CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg, penned a letter urging Congress to provide temporary emergency assistance targeted to licensed childcare providers to help cover increased expenses and forgone revenue directly tied to maintaining public health.
Safe Place for Children
“Combined with state efforts to help restore lost capacity, your efforts will help ensure that children have a safe place to go as their parents return to work,” the letter concluded.
According to the chamber executives, existing childcare arrangements for many working parents have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. This disruption can be substantially mitigated by congressional action, ensuring that more Americans can quickly return to work and to support the nation’s overall economic recovery.
Similarly, the chambers urged states to continue implementing temporary regulatory actions to help licensed centers and homes quickly and safely adjust to meet operational challenges.
To protect public health, many camps and other facilities that care for large groups of children have canceled their summer programs. Childcare facilities in many states are operating under reduced capacity and social distancing orders.
In addition, the childcare industry is comprised of many small and very small businesses—many run by women and women of color—who are on the brink of collapse and may never reopen.
Childcare Market Needs Help
Although critical support was provided to small businesses early on in this crisis through the CARES Act, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) only one-quarter of the childcare market received a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
For those that have remained open and that will reopen, decreased capacity and new pandemic-related costs mean operating losses. That will eventually lead to more closures and even less available childcare.
Congress is expected to continue working on the next COVID-19 relief package upon return from its recess, around July 20.