Boris Johnson has just announced a SECOND LOCKDOWN with the nation urged to stay at home from Thursday.
However, unlike the first lockdown back in March, schools, and other education providers will stay open throughout this lockdown which officially begins at 12.01 on November 5. This 2nd lockdown will end on December 2nd 2020. In theory.
A big fear is what happens when the 2nd December arrives but apparently the strategy is to then ease restrictions on a local and regional basis. This is likely to be the reverse of the Tier system – so the in Tier 1 will open up first and so on.
As with the last lockdown, parents will be keen to carry on working if possible, and although the fact schools are remaining open, childcare for many parents will still be a big question – especially regarding grandparents.
Many schools are full of grandparents at pick up time, providing much-needed childcare to allow parents to work, but the big question for a lot of parents is whether this can this continue throughout the second lockdown?
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said that childcare bubbles will remain as they are currently.
This means that parents can have the help of their parents to take care of their children, for children aged under 14.
However there are limitations…
What is a childcare bubble?
You are allowed to form a childcare bubble during the second lockdown.
The government guidance states that: “A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household.”
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These rules have been brought in place to help parents struggling to find adequate childcare, where mixing between households is not allowed.
Updated government guidance states: “Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare..”
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However, the childcare bubble is limited to be only between the SAME TWO households. People can only form ONE childcare bubble. The government website says clearly: “For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same 2 households.”
This means the same grandparent(s) have to look after the same grandchild(ren) every time – you are not allowed to swap households.
Grandparents who have more than one set of grandchildren (living in separate households) are only allowed to look after one set of those children, so they can only babysit for one other household. So grandparents, it’s time to choose your favourites… :)
Grandparents cannot babysit for their son’s children one day and their daughter’s children the next day.
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Similarly, if your child’s grandparents are separated and live in separate households, only one of those grandparents’ households can look after your child.
This also applies to family friends and other relatives; aunts, uncles, cousins etc. Remember, you are allowed to form only ONE childcare bubble.
Grandparents and grandchildren who do not live together are also advised to socially distance. Hugging is still not encouraged or recommended by the government. Masks when travelling in the car are advised and keeping 2 metres apart where possible.
Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare, according to official guidance.
Can my child still go to nursery or pre-school?
Formal childcare, like childminders and clubs registered with Ofsted, is allowed but obviously playdates and birthday / event parties are not allowed.
Can children from separated houses see both parents?
Children under the age of 18 who live between their separated parents homes can move between those houses to ensure they can still see both parents throughout this second lockdown.
Can my children still go to football, dance classes and gymnastics?
Activities including football clubs, dance clubs and alike will stop after Thursday.
Under the second lockdown parks and playgrounds will also remain open, unlike in the first lockdown. But as with all advice, social distancing is advised.
Under the terms of the new lockdown, you may only leave your home for specific reasons:
- Education, as schools and universities remain open.
- Work if you have leave the house to go to work.
- Exercise and recreation, either with your own household or bubble, or on your own with one person from another household or bubble. This means you can still go for a walk with one friend or family member. This is unlimited so you could exercise with a walk all day if you wanted to.