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Local childcare centers struggle amid statewide shelter-at-home order

Posted at 6:45 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 22:45:17-04

As community members go through their first day under a shelter-at-home order, some childcare facility owners struggle to understand what the future holds for their business.

At the beginning of this week, Evelyn Choto had 48 kids enrolled at her facility, but that has quickly changed since the shelter-at-home order was put in place in San Luis Obispo County.

"It started with thirteen families who desperately still needed to go to work and couldn't find back up. It became less and less to the point where we only had three kids at the end then at the end of it, by Wednesday, it was only one" said Choto who owns Adventure Kids Learning and Childcare Center.

Choto said her facility is her family's only source of income and although she worries about what the future may hold for her professionally, she felt that not charging parents through the remainder of their contracts for additional months was the right thing to do.

"Even though if its in their contracts, it doesn't feel right but we also just feel the need to do our part to remain closed to avoid spreading anything," added Choto.

Some of the parents who use Choto's facility said they feel for her situation and are willing to try and find ways to help.

"My husband and I are both really lucky being essential workers because our pay hasn't stopped at all, so I think about people like Evelyn who provide essential services to us the rest of the year. We've considered paying tuition ahead of time like two or three months worth to help her cover whatever she needs to now," said Samantha Parker, whose child is enrolled at Choto's facility.

Choto said that while she appreciated parents generosity, she understands that even that, might not be able to cover all the hardships.

"Our backup plan is just to be able to save the business is to use our cards to pay off our bills. I don't want to put that pressure on parents, while some are saying they will pay full tuition, it doesn't feel right," said Choto.

There are some childcare facilities that will remain open for those that are part of what is considered an "essential" business. For more information on emergency childcare in San Luis Obispo County, click here.