Early years exempt from four-week lockdown
By Rachel Lawler
Early years providers will be allowed to remain open during the four-week nationwide lockdown due to begin on 5 November 2020.
With people in England told to remain at home as much as possible for at least the next four weeks, education will be one of the exemptions with children still allowed to attend early years settings.
The Prime Minister has announced that the furlough scheme will no longer be closing in November and will continue until at least December.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: "We welcome the confirmation that early years providers in England will be able to remain open during the upcoming second national lockdown.
"We know that many nurseries, pre-schools and childminders across the country are already struggling to remain viable as a result of the combined impact of the pandemic and historic underfunding, and that many would not have been able to survive another order to temporarily close.
"That said, with so many sectors instructed to shut down during this period, it is highly likely that the need and demand for childcare provision will nevertheless fall once again over the coming months, resulting in another fall in income for many early years providers. It is therefore critical that the government provides the financial support the sector needs to get through the upcoming lockdown and beyond, if it is to survive in the long term.
"What’s more, given we are being asked to remain open at such a frightening and worrying time, it's vital that early years providers are able to feel confident that they can keep themselves, their staff, the children in their care and their own families safe.
"For this to happen, government must ensure that all providers have priority access to Covid testing, including home tests; affordable access to PPE; and support with the costs of keeping their settings as clean as possible. Our sector putting itself on the frontline in the middle of a global pandemic - anything less is simply not acceptable."