Access to childcare is essential to reopening the economy

States are starting to open back up some of their non-essential businesses. Reopening efforts have revealed one problem, however.

Parents are having a hard time accessing childcare. The issue is especially acute in states like Texas where childcare providers can only accept children of essential workers. This has proven a dilemma for parents who have to work and might lose unemployment benefits if they do not go back to work. While some centers in Texas are operating at less than full capacity and would be able to take in more children, the state does not currently allow them to.

Texas is not the only state that will have to come to terms with a shortage of childcare, however. Due to COVID-19, a lot of centers — including those in Minnesota —  have had to close due to a lack of demand. Due to their financial capacity, many have been at risk of going out of business.

In Minnesota, for instance, childcare providers have expressed concern they would have to develop capacity from scratch once the pandemic is over. While the state government has offered some grants to providers so that they can stay in business during the emergency period, these funds might not be enough to ensure providers stay in business. Some providers are actually paying to provide childcare, as their revenues have dropped significantly, while costs are increasing.

Covid-19 has worsened the childcare crisis 

Businesses already do face some issues with attracting employees in specific areas where childcare is scarce. The coronavirus has made this issue more acute.

Due to school closures and a lack of childcare access, some parents have considered quitting their jobs in order to better manage responsibilities at home.  In a survey by the Bipartisan Policy Center, businesses demonstrated that one of their top issues would be employees accessing child care.  According to the poll,

Nearly three-quarters of small business executives (71%) are very concerned (35%) or somewhat concerned (36%) about their employees who have children at home because of school or child care closures due to COVID-19.

The economy cannot open the economy without childcare. Parents need to have someone look after their children so that they can go to work or they will not be able to work. Research has shown already just how much parents, businesses, state, and local governments as well as federal governments lose due to working parents not being able to access childcare.

The stakes are higher now because businesses have been put at a standstill. These businesses will need workers in order to recover, and they will also need paying customers. Access to childcare will make it possible for parents to return to the labor force and contribute to growing the economy.