BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is opening hundreds of day care sites for the children of medical professionals, emergency workers and others who are expected to keep working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced Saturday that more than 300 sites will open on Monday, with more to follow later. The rest of the state’s child care facilities have been ordered to shut down to help prevent spread of the coronavirus.

“We know that child care is an especially critical piece of emergency service, and that it allows our front-line workers to continue their battle against COVID-19,” Baker said at a news conference.

He said the drop-in sites are reserved for those who must report to work, including hospital workers and other “critical service” workers including grocery store employees. Still, he said the sites should be used only “as a last resort.”

The state has also made progress on increasing its capacity to test for the disease, Baker said, and state officials have been in discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to identify facilities that can be converted into temporary medical centers.

Click here for a full list of emergency child care programs.

(Copyright (c) 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox