BILLINGS, Mont. - As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on a number of businesses and families continue to be negatively impacted. Discovery Daycare has been serving Billings families for over 36 years and now they're giving a tearful goodbye as the pandemic forces them to close indefinitely.

Owner Cindy Moats says they've been struggling to find and retain adequate staffing since the stay at-home order was lifted.

"People were not responding to interview invites or to or they would schedule an interview and not show up, or show up for the interview and not for the first day of work. And so we just felt we would survive it, if we did not accept any more children," says Moats.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Moats says she was licensed for 170 kids, she dropped her license down to 120 and now they typically have about 100 children.

She says, at one point they thought they had sold their facility, so they started accepting more children again.   

 

"We have one that was supposed to start Monday, her first day back to work and we have to tell her, she won't have care after the 29th. It's devastating for me to have to make those phone calls and talk to those parents," says Moats.

One parent we spoke to says her family is heartbroken and struggling to find infant care she's comfortable leaving her sons at. Moats says about 50% of the parents are healthcare workers and her daycare works with their busy schedules. She says parents aren't finding the same accommodations at other facilities.

"I had a parent here yesterday who was just distraught. She was just so defeated that the numerous places that she called were all full."

Moats says she did everything in her power to keep the facility going, but the pandemic ultimately made it impossible for the daycare to survive. Though, she says, she's grateful to all the families for their love, support and understanding.

"This is not how I planned my career to end. I love my families dearly. We've cared for generations of children here. It's going to be devastating for me on that last day to lock that gate knowing that I'm not going to see my families or my kids anymore, because they're my kids," she says.

Moats hopes the community can step up and provide daycare services for the families. In the meantime they will continue to stay open until Friday, October 29th.