Private daycare in jeopardy
Privately-run daycare centres have urged the government to allow them to reopen immediately or run the risk that young children may be placed in illegal centres.
It says up to 20,000 daycare workers face losing their jobs with the ongoing shutdown.
Pairat Udompraipruek, president of the Childcare Development Association of Thailand, said the association's call for privately-run daycare outlets to be included among businesses permitted to reopen in the third phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions was rejected by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
Many families, mostly in the cities, have no one to look after their young children during the day when both parents are at work, so they put their children in daycare centres, he said.
Since the centres have been forced to close due to Covid-19, many parents have had little choice but to place their children in the care of relatives or unlicensed daycare providers. The children are exposed to danger as illegal childcare businesses are not trained or regulated by authorities.
Many parents also take their children to their workplaces, according to Pairat.
"Children play under the tables while their parents work or are left in the care of security guards at the parents' offices.
"Closing daycare centres imperils the lives of young children. They are pushed into potentially dangerous environments," he said.
In terms of finances, some daycare centres may go under if the restrictions are not lifted soon. The owners are not offered Covid-19 relief aid and are running out of money to pay staff.
It is estimated about 20,000 people are employed by privately-owned daycare centres.
Mr Pairat said if private daycare centres must wait another month to reopen along with schools on July 1, between 40-60% of them may have to close because of the liquidity crunch.