Less than third of creches reopen after Covid-19 restrictions

The Federation of Early Childhood Providers said it is worried about the "total implosion" of the childcare sector. File photograph

Fewer than one in three creches have reopened since Covid-19 restrictions were eased two weeks ago.

This is one of the findings of a poll of 868 preschool and daycare operators by the Federation of Early Childhood Providers.

Of those surveyed, 79 per cent say they fear for the survival of their business – with the federation saying it is worried about the "total implosion" of the sector without more financial backing from the State.

Gillian Powell said she has already permanently closed her creche in Co Cork and is concerned about the wider impact of the loss of childcare facilities.

"I closed because I didn't see a financial future for the business as I was running it – I was running a part-time, sessional service. I looked at the cold hard facts and realised I was working sometimes 80 hours a week, and the financials were not looking good," she said.

"I really want the Government to realise how damaging it will be for society if childcare providers aren't supported – women all over the country who set up little communities of learning. When these close, it's not like a coffee shop."

Childcare facilities reopened for certain children on June 29th, following the closure of the sector during the Covid-19 crisis.

A €75 million financial support package for the childcare providers includes grants to help ease the cost of hiring cleaning staff, buying hygiene products and purchasing outdoor play equipment and shelters.

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