Providers of emergency child care for front-line workers in the response to the new coronavirus pandemic will have top priority as officials distribute money from a state-sponsored emergency relief fund.

Gov. Jared Polis said during a press conference Friday that the fund has raised $7.5 million already, and the state is now accepting applications from eligible organizations.

“We are prioritizing child care for critical workers,” Polis said. “We need people that are nurses and doctors and people cleaning our hospitals and first responders to be able to go to work now that schools are closed.”

A system of emergency child care launched this week to place children of front-line workers in child care centers with open seats. At the time, officials said the first two weeks would be free, and that they were looking for more funding going forward. The effort was the work of state officials and more than a dozen early childhood groups after a wave of school and child care center closures set off fears that health professionals and first responders wouldn’t be able to do their jobs.

Individuals cannot apply for money from the relief fund.

Eligible organizations include nonprofits, government entities, school districts, and small businesses that are filling a community need related to the epidemic and the response effort.

To donate or to apply for funding, go to www.helpcoloradonow.org.

To apply for emergency child care, fill out this survey.