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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Daycare Services Are Now Considered Essential Businesses In Montana

Children play with blocks at a daycare center.
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Daycare facilities are now deemed an essential business during the coronavirus outbreak in Montana.

Gov. Steve Bullock is ordering child care businesses to first serve children of parents that are deemed essential employees working in fields such as healthcare, law enforcement or in grocery stores.

The directive says facilities should serve no more than 24 children at a time and to separate groups of 10 or fewer children in different rooms while maintaining the same groups day to day.

Mark Roberts co-owns Missoula Early Learning, which is licensed to serve up to 70 kids daily. He says that they have been asking parents who can stay home with their kids to do so and says the facility hasn’t exceeded more than about 14 kids at one time in the last week or so.

"You know have had some phone calls of other families looking for a place to enroll their kids during this time, but a lot of them were deemed non-essential employees."

Roberts says it shouldn’t be difficult for his facility to maintain compliance with Bullock’s directive. Bullock says any facilities that are unable to meet the new requirements should cease operations.

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