Informal childcare exempt from local lockdown restrictions
By Rachel Lawler
Children under the age of 14 can be cared for by individuals outside of their immediate household – even in areas with additional local restrictions, from today onward.
The health secretary announced the policy change last night, confirming that informal childcare may continue despite the ban on mixing households in parts of the North West, North East, Bolton and Leicester.
Informal childcare arranged between households must be part of a “consistent” relationship and “one-off” playdates are not permitted.
The exception also allows for households to share caring duties for vulnerable adults.
Matt Hancock said: “I know how vital all types of childcare are for family life. Whether a friend, relative, or a professional carer, it is essential that our children or dependents are well looked after and loved.
I have listened to concerns that have been raised around the ban on interhousehold mixing in place for local areas of intervention, and have now introduced a provision for those looking after children under the age of 14.
“Informal care can also continue for vulnerable adults. I truly sympathise with everyone who lost those vital extra hands to care for a child or loved one, and I hope that this eases their burden.”
Exemptions for formal childcare arrangements are already in place – this update extends this to informal arrangements, too.