Hudson County daycare centers are seeing a surge in business, but will it be enough to stay afloat?

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Some public schools in Hudson County have remained closed since the pandemic started, including Jersey City and Bayonne. Garas said a lot of parents have kept their younger kids out of daycare because the parents are still home with their older children remote learning. On the other hand, Mary Garas, the director of the Sunshine Club Daycare Center in Bayonne – which serves children two to 13 years old – said they are struggling and she doesn’t know at this point if the center has a future. But Alicea and Garas said in the last couple of weeks they have seen at least 20 parents reach out looking for childcare.

For example, her location on Adams Street, licensed for 125 children, has been able to hold on to 80 kids. Before the pandemic hit, Alicea had close to 90 children – from 8-week-old babies to 6-year-olds kids – at her Montgomery street location. Now, she’s barely holding on to half. She said it has been challenging, but her other locations have allowed them to remain steady.

“I think that is why some locations might be suffering so much more, because they might just have one location and not be able to support from another location,” Alicea said. “So, that has certainly been a fortune for us that one of our locations has been doing as well as it has.” “We have recently seen parents have been inquiring more about child care, hours and all that stuff which is a blessing for us,” said Alicea, who owns four daycare centers. “We really need our enrollment to grow under the circumstances.”

However she said the center has heard from a lot of parents lately who were working from home and stressed out from remote learning. Reyes said these clients replaced a lot of the infants and toddlers they had before, and a lot of parents are looking to tour the facility. “This week we had like five tours – before we were not having any tours,” Reyes said. “I guess because people are going back to work or the state has reopened little by little, so I guess a lot of people are going to be returning to work and that is why we are getting more calls now.” Leslie Reyes, manager of the Busy Place Education Learning Center in Jersey City, which serves kids up to 13 years old, said she took care of 37 kids before the pandemic, but only six have returned.

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered child daycare centers in the state to close back in March 2020, unless they served essential workers. Murphy allowed child-care services to resume in June 2020, if they comply with state safety restrictions. “We are hoping business comes back to the way it was, in September,” Garas said. “We have to wait until we cross that bridge. I can’t make that call right now.”

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