Early education workers in Massachusetts scrambled Wednesday after learning they would have to shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"That news literally halted everything to a stop," said preschool owner Tracey Nardone. "OK, I'm not going to have income for next week."
Nardone runs the Early Childhood Preschool and Learning Center in Weymouth.
She'll be losing her income, and her 20 employees will have to go.
"I have to be the one to tell them, 'I'm sorry, tomorrow's paycheck is the last one you're going to get for a while,'" Nardone said.
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Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all early education centers and family child care providers in Massachusetts to close by Monday in the latest fallout from the coronavirus crisis.
"I understand the news, the seriousness of COVID-19, I get it, but this is going to cripple my business," Nardone said.
Some day care centers will be exempt, but only to provide care for vulnerable children and children of essential workers like medical staff.
"These emergency child care programs will be the only ones allowed to operate during this state of emergency," said Baker.
Nardone takes care of 64 children whose parents will now have to make new plans.
And after 28 years in business, she worries about taking out loans and going into debt.
"My passion is now coming to a halt," she said. "And I didn't get that choice. I didn't retire, I didn't sell."
State officials say the day cares must be closed until April 6, but Nardone isn't so sure that date will hold.