BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is keeping a close eye on all the women and mothers out there during this COVID-19 crisis.
“They’re taking it on the chin,” Hochul told 7 Eyewitness News Anchor Ashley Rowe.
Federal data validate her concerns. According to the US Census website, show 76% of health care workers are women.
“They’ve got to figure out the childcare option. Who’s going to watch their kid so they can go to their job, which is so important. They worry about social distancing from their own children, what they could be bringing home to them? So there’s this extra added level of anxiety,” Hochul said.
And then there are women like Beth Majerowski, a single mom caring for her six-year-old son Owen in Cheektowaga. Majerowski is working a ten-hour day from home, while also trying to ensure Owen is properly fed, entertained, and keeping up on his school work.
“I do break down. But I do it in the bathroom, in the shower, I’ll go outside if I need to. But I just take it one day at a time because that’s all I can do as a parent,” Majerowski said.
Hochul, who is Chairwoman of the New York State Child Care Availability Task Force, is empathetic of Majerowski’s plight.
“The stress on these women under normal circumstances trying to be taking care of kids and their family, their job, and parents and grandparents… it’s on steroids right now,” Hochul said.
One of the first priorities she says she and Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed was helping essential workers find child care options. However, with many counties across New York State yet to feel the apex of the novel coronavirus, some say it is not happening quickly enough.
The Empire State Campaign for Childcare issued a public advisory stating its concern that providers do not have the funds or supplies to stay open and operate safely.
On Monday, the Child Care Resource Network and the Erie County Emergency Child Care Task Force have partnered to match essential workers in need of child care with state-licensed child care providers who remain open and have vacancies.
“[Women] are literally leading the charge into battle every single day. For that they deserve recognition and ultimately continue the conversation about child care and how important it is for them,” Hochul said.
Hochul hopes a silver lining that comes from the COVID-19 crisis is an awakening in the private sector about the need to help employees with childcare and flexible work hours.
Meantime, she is highlighting an NYS-facilitated emotional support hotline, dedicated to people who are particularly impacted by COVID-19. That number is 1-844-863-9314.