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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Daycare Dilemma | How local businesses are trying to stay open during the outbreak

Local daycare businesses are having to do more with less staff during COVID-19 outbreak.

CENTRAL, Texas — Central Texas daycare facilitates are dealing with new rules and less staff after Bell and McLennan County both issued disaster regulations with rules for local businesses. 6 News spoke to several businesses Tuesday about the struggle to stay open. 

In Bell County, the facilities can stay open without restrictions but the county asked facilities to keep children in groups of 10 and not mix them. With many parents pulling kids out of daycare, many don't have the money to pay staff as normal.

"We've had about 80 kids every day. We usually have 200," Belton Education Station Executive director Susan Jones said. "It is a big balancing act. I will do another schedule for (our) teachers next week and try to get people some hours, let people who had vacation time take vacation time."

The Belton Education Station is allowing parents to un-enroll and still have a spot later on. They are still taking new students, but not all daycare businesses have the same policy. 

Grace Christian Center in Temple is only serving new parents who must work essential jobs at this time. Owner Melissa Parker said they want to help the community, but must also keep their children safe. 

"We want to protect our staff and our kids. We want to limit the exposure," Parker said. "But we also realize there are people in essential roles that need our help, so we are trying to walk that balancing act."

In McLennan County, it's a different story. 

The McLennan County State of Disaster Declaration Ordered on March 23 allows daycare facilities to stay open specifically to support people working essential jobs in the area. 

Central Faith Child Development Center in Waco had to ask parents who were not currently working to pick up their children so they could focus on helping families that had to work. 

"We had requested our parents that weren't in an essential position to please stay home so we could provide care to people who were in essential positions," Executive Director Linda Taft said. 

Taft said the business had lost about a third of its customers in the last few weeks and was not able to provide full-time jobs for all staff members as a result. The business is now working with the Texas Workforce Solutions on a shared work program so they don't have to lay off employees. 

Taft said the company will stay in business as long as possible but wishes there was an end in sight to the outbreak. 

"I don't see it going away but I'm ready for it to be over," Taft said. 

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