Somerset

Coronavirus: Yeovil nursery fears for future due to part-closure

Nursery generic Image copyright Getty Images

A nursery and pre-school says it fears for its future due to restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus crisis.

Nurseries and schools are only allowed to stay open for the children of key workers and pupils with special needs.

First Steps in Yeovil said while it was right to support key workers, it had many concerns.

Owner Heather Norris said: "The parents we normally have won't be in to pay fees; the key children may not even be a third of our usual number."

'High risk'

She added: "It has made it extremely difficult because of several factors. The government has asked us to close - we haven't technically been made to close.

"They've asked us not to take most of the children, just the children of the key workers... so our income is only going to be a third [of what it was].

"We want to keep our workforce paid and, with no fees coming in, we are having to find the money to keep the workforce paid."

She added that her staff had concerns about being exposed to the virus.

"A lot of the key workers are going to be nurses and doctors who are going to be in hospital, quite rightly, dealing with the coronavirus and then coming back to pick their children up.

"So other parents and practitioners are worried because they [healthcare workers] are going to be high risk."

The nursery said it was already losing money due to the 30 hours early-years entitlement, as the government does not cover the entire cost.

If the partial closure runs beyond September, First Steps said it would have a "devastating" effect.

"Insurance companies are not going to pay out," Ms Norris said.

"They are finding reasons why they're not going to pay us because we haven't been closed down completely, as the government requires us to stay open."

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