LAKELAND, Fla. — The pandemic has had far reaching impacts on businesses, including daycare facilities like Bright Imaginations in Lakeland.

Owners of Bright Imaginations Daycare, Alecia Everett-Hollinger and Stephanie Everett, are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to support daycare facilities that keep people at work. 

"Don't just bonus the people who are in and out. Incentivize the teachers that have stayed to make sure you can go to work throughout the day," Alicia expressed. "We leaned during the pandemic last year that we are truly first responders. If we didn't come to work, our doctors, nurses, firefighters, and police couldn't go to work."

Bright Imaginations opened their doors 16 years ago and have become known as one of the largest educational performing art daycares' in Central Florida. 

The Everett sisters said they have had to change the way they run their two locations in Lakeland. 

"We went from taking care of 110 children a day at this facility, now down to 30," Alicia said. "Things became really uncertain [during the pandemic.] Teachers that had been here for 10-14 years decided to retire early or find other careers so, we need to incentivize those positions."

"We hope to keep our doors open," she added. "We are working at half capacity right now but we're still here."

The sisters said child development is a passion, and one they hope to continue sharing with their Polk County community. 

"Write letters to our governor and let them know how important early childhood development is to your family," Alicia expressed. 

Alicia said she is determined to push past the pandemic and come out better than before.