INNISFIL, ONT. -- Every surface and toy was cleaned and disinfected at Simcoe Childcare Services in Innisfil today as the daycare centre prepared to reopen for its 0 to 4 age group.

The province now allows daycares to increase their group or cohort size from 10 to 15 people, which includes children and staff members.

"They never pass or mix with other groups in the centre. Outside they will never mix with other ones. So the exposure, if there is nothing in the centre, it is limited to that group only," explained Kim Yeaman, Simcoe Childcare Services director.

Daycares have a list of requirements and protocols they must follow, including screening, logging attendance and having a response plan if a child or staff member is exposed to COVID-19.

Reopening daycares helps more parents get back to work, but the newly increased cohort size may have the opposite effect.

"We are seeing a decline in enrolment at this point of parents that want to return because they are extremely concerned about the larger group size," said Yeaman.

The daycare staff are confident that the steps being taken will help keep children and their families safe. The biggest challenge will be maintaining daycares like this open if they reopen while waiting for funding formulas to catch up with new realities.

Parents are encouraged to contact their daycare centre to learn more about the steps being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.