A quarter of nation’s childcare providers remain closed

Study shows 27 percent of operations are shut, months after lockdowns lifted

Only 73 percent of providers are back up and running (iStock)
Only 73 percent of providers are back up and running (iStock)

Bad news for office landlords: About a quarter of the country’s childcare providers remain closed, months after most of the toughest lockdown measures were lifted.

A study by Procare Solutions, first reported by CNBC, shows that only 73 percent of providers are back up and running — and many are half empty.

The study looked at childcare centers, preschools, day care and other programs. It didn’t take into account home-based providers.

The closures were slightly higher than expected, and worse in some areas than others. In Vermont and Nevada, for example, only about 1 in 3 childcare centers have reopened, the study found. That could make it harder for some parents to return to the office, as commercial landlords have been hoping they would.

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“Child care is the critical infrastructure that we have to make a significant investment in in order to have an economic recovery,” Democratic representative Katherine Clark told CNBC. The $10 billion in funding allocated in the latest relief package, she added, is “not nearly enough to make sure that we have a childcare sector that survives this pandemic.”

In addition to safety concerns and financial pressures, childcare centers are also grappling with low attendance. As of Dec. 7, the country’s childcare centers were operating at just 49 percent of capacity, according to the study.

Still, home-based providers have reportedly bounced back faster, and a recent survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children found that 93 percent of childcare workers were employed.

[CNBC] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan