Daycare Centers to Close Except to Serve Children of Essential Workers
Posted on March 25, 2020 by Politico Pro
Gov. Phil Murphy today ordered childcare centers throughout the state to close unless they serve the children of workers deemed essential to the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We need all of our frontline workers on the job, helping us to get through this emergency,” Murphy said during his daily briefing. “A lack of childcare cannot be a barrier for them or our response. While these workers commit themselves to our New Jersey family, we will commit to protecting their families.”
Murphy has been criticized for allowing childcare centers to remain open after he ordered that all public private schools in the state close. On Saturday, the governor also ordered that all non-essential businesses close until further notice and ordered people to remain at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Centers that plan to continue operating must submit certification by Friday that they are caring only for children of essential workers, and must abide by new health and safety guidelines. All others must close by April 1, the governor said.
County offices of emergency management will identify schools to serve as childcare centers for essential workers’ children, up to eighth grade.
Essential workers include law enforcement officers, first responders, healthcare workers, essential government employees, those who work in the daycare centers and staff who provide services deemed essential such as social services.
The Department of Children and Families may add more categories to the above. Murphy added that the children of essential retail workers may also be considered.
For those who are not considered essential workers and need childcare, Murphy said OEM will “work with counties to figure out stopgap measures.”