Richmond child care limited as public facilities shutter during COVID-19

While public facilities are largely closed to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), some child care facilities operated by non-profit organizations or private businesses are still running.

Jack Chang, owner of Central and South Central Montessori Child Care centres in Richmond, said that it is important for child care services to remain open during this time, but with limitations.

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Many children are being kept at home to reduce the risk of getting the virus, Chang said, but his centre is keeping its doors open with minimum service.

"It's important for us to stay open to help the parents who work on the frontline and can't stay at home with their child, especially for the upcoming weeks," said Chang.

However, it is still unclear how organizations operating before- and after-school care in schools will provide the service, but some have stated they are committed to doing so.

Spring break camps at community centres were initially kept open, but, with dwindling numbers, closed during their second week.

On Friday, Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development announced funding to help keep child care centres (deemed an essential service) open -- up to 75 per cent of the facility's monthly expenses.

According to the Ministry of Health, detailed guidelines on implementing best practices will be given to child care providers soon.

To encourage social distancing, the City of Richmond and the Richmond School Board closed all playgrounds last week followed a couple days later with the closure of outdoors sports fields and courts.

Community centres, the Oval, pools, arenas and other indoor city-owned amenities had already been shut down to stop the spread of coronavirus. Parks and trails, however, are still open.

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