COLUMBUS, Ohio — All Ohio schools have been ordered to close this week.
Restaurants and bars have shut down throughout the state, too, only permitted to operate on a carryout basis until further notice.
Mass gatherings with more than 50 people have also been banned within the Buckeye State.
Daycares, however, remain open… For now.
“I’ve tried to signal that daycares will eventually be closed,” DeWine tweeted Sunday. “But, our healthcare systems need to be staffed. You’ll start to see healthcare facilities creating their own daycares.”
Gov. DeWine also issued a plea to all parents in Ohio.
“I’m pleading with parents: If you have children in daycare and can keep them home, please do it,” he tweeted. “To close daycares overnight won’t work, but it’s coming.”
His comments about daycare came just a few hours after Gov. DeWine said it’s possible schools throughout Ohio could remain closed for the rest of the school year.
On Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services rolled out its plans in the event of a state-mandated closure of child care facilities.
The emergency action on Wednesday would provide child care to families where parents work in the health, safety, and essential service fields during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The agency will issue temporary pandemic child care licenses to ensure communities have access to child care.
An ODJFS spokesperson told 3News that these specially-licensed centers would only care for children of workers providing essential services, like health care workers or first responders. However, as of Wednesday, the ODJFS had no clear definition of how "essential" workers would be defined.
At Loving Cup Kids Academy in Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood, the franchise, with 8 locations across Northeast Ohio, is ready to serve the community during the coronavirus crisis. They anticipate becoming one of the state's "pandemic child care centers" during a state-mandated closure.
"We love our families, we love our community, we know that people definitely need us at this time," said Annette Diotalevi, the center's director. "We're healthy, we want the community to stay healthy, and we just want to be there to help."
However, working parents who would not qualify for child care during the pandemic are struggling to figure out what to do.
"Being a single mom, you know?" said DoorDash worker Malika Risley, mother of a 2-year-old-boy. "I don't have a lot of people I can depend on, so it's kind of necessary for me to have day care," she said.
ODJFS said that if day care centers are ordered to close, parents would have to apply at a pandemic child care center, and explain why they're considered essential staff.