TAMPA, Fla. -- Concerns of childcare are growing as more COVID-19 cases are reported.
As Tampa and Hillsborough County declare states of emergency over the coronavirus, parents are preparing for schools and daycares to close. This means families are desperately searching for alternative childcare.
“It’s definitely been a little scary,” Gabriela Rosello with Doublemint Sitting.
Rosello watches over 260 sitters and cares for more than 2,600 families across the Tampa Bay area. Now more than ever, she’s closely watching as COVID-19 creeps across Tampa.
“A lot of it is just ensuring that the families know we are taking the precautions we can up until this point,” Rosello said.
Those precautions include mandatory reporting from the sitter and the families that hire them.
Babysitters are no longer allowed to bring in nanny bags filled with toys to stop the spread of the virus. Rosello says they are also keeping track of who is traveling in and out of the state or country.
But despite concerns over COVID-19, Rosello is getting more calls than ever.
“Colleges are closing, a lot of daycares are closing, a lot of camps are closing and next week is going to be spring break,” she said.
Rosello added that the phone has been going off non-stop for the last 48-hours.
Doublemint Sitting can take on the additional requests with the significant staffing available, plus the fact that her season college sitters are now studying remotely, so they are also available to work.
The City of Tampa is also keeping its childcare options open during spring break. City camps and Tampa’s ‘Stay and Play’ for teens, which draws around 200 kids per night, are also still on the books.
“We’ve already made provisions in our park and recreation to welcome kids to our centers and will be taking the precautions there to make sure the kids don’t have the signs or symptoms; fever, cough, respiratory,” Mayor Jane Castor told ABC Action News.
Gabriela, with Doublemint Sitting, encouraged the same kind of caution for her sitters, kids and parents.
“Anyway we can stop spreading is the best way,” she said.