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Jun 11, 2020

Daycare Centers Are Still Not Allowed to Reopen

There is a further relaxing of curfew hours and more business and sporting activity will be allowed beginning this Friday and for longer hours. Schools are set to reopen on August tenth, but working parents with younger children in day-care or childcare are in a lurch since there is no decision yet to resume these services. The owners of these facilities are also feeling the financial impact of a three-month closure. Here is Isani Cayetano with a report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

On March twentieth when schools across the country were closed due to an imminent threat of coronavirus disease 2019, all daycare centre were also shuttered.  Since then, caregivers for newborns and infants alike have been waiting to reopen.  Earlier today, an announcement was made that government is further relaxing a number of measures under the state of emergency.  Permission to reopen daycare centres has still not been given.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“That is clear from the NOC and from the regulations that those businesses cannot open: daycare centers, childcare centers, nurseries and other similar establishments or businesses still cannot open.  Can’t open.  So now let me list them off again and then I will make a statement to that effect.  Dis da weh cyant open: discotheque, bar, rum shops, nightclubs, daycare centers, childcare centers, nurseries.”


The prolonged closure continues to affect businesses that provide that provide daytime care and supervision for children.  Nancy Gordon is the proprietor of Step by Step Daycare.


Nancy Gordon

Nancy Gordon, Step by Step Daycare

“For me, March twentieth was our closing date.  From then we have just been getting messages from the [Ministry of] Human Development stating that we should remain closed and they would advise accordingly.  So obviously we are closed and we had to terminate staff.  Children are displaced and obviously there are daycares out there, it’s on Facebook and everywhere else.  People are providing services to children and so it puts us in a bind because we’re here that are licensed and cannot provide the service.  We know what we are supposed to do, we know the protocols on how to deal with the children’s safety and et cetera.  There are people out there just providing the service.  So, you know, it’s an injustice to us as caregivers who are registered and licensed.”


Indeed, a quick search on Facebook brings up several ads for similar services where children are being invited to participate in summer programmes that also require supervision.  But enforcement, according to Gordon, is not being brought down on them.  The lopsided application of the law, she says, is affecting her livelihood.


Nancy Gordon

“We haven’t been doing anything, you know, it’s just survival based on what you have.  Basically, that’s it.”


Isani Cayetano

“Have you reached out to any of the parents whose kids you had in your care prior to March twentieth and what has their reaction been like?  Have they been able to find other people, what did they do with their kids?  You mentioned them being displaced, what happened there?”


Nancy Gordon

“Okay, yes we have been in touch with parents and children are basically all over the place.  We have some in Belmopan, we have some in PG, we have some… We have them all over the place.  It’s just somewhere safe they are looking for to leave their kids.  Basically, they are leaving them with grandparents, you know.  So that is the situation we are faced with right now.”


While schools are set to reopen on August tenth, there is no word on when daycare centres and other caregivers will be allowed to resume work. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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