Latest national lockdown rules on going out and meeting up
There have been so many rule changes during the pandemic it’s not surprising that lots of parents and carers are confused about exactly what they can and can’t do during the new national lockdown #2. Here’s answers to some of your most frequent questions.
Meeting up indoors or outdoors
You can go out in a group with members of your own household and anyone in your support bubble (if you are entitled to form one). A support bubble is where a household with a single person or single parent joins with another household to make a social support network. Everyone in the bubble can do things together as if they are one household.
You can meet in open public spaces outside your home (e.g. the street or a park but not your garden) with one person from another household as long as you stick to the two-metre rule. The good news is that children under 5, as well as disabled people dependent on round-the-clock care, are not counted towards the limit on two people meeting outside. This means that a mum with a young child is able to meet up in a park with another mum with an under 5 (or more), or that a family with a disabled child might potentially meet up with another family with a child with a significant disability. It also means your disabled child can go out with a carer or carers.
Other than these specific exceptions, you can’t meet or socialise, indoors or out, with people who are not in your household or support bubble.
Limits on going out
Although the government guidance states that you should only go out for specific purposes (work, exercise, shopping for food or medicine, doctor’s appointments), there is no restriction placed on the amount of outdoor exercise you can take by yourself, or with your family or support bubble.
Care and respite
Childcare and respite services can stay open, with suitable measures to be COVID safe. This means children and young people can go to childcare providers or respite care and can have carers come to their home or take them out.
Informal childcare for children under 13 can also continue, and essential visits for care or respite for those over 13, from informal carers as well as paid ones. For example grandparents can come to look after children. Youth support services, including 1-1 youth work and support groups, can also continue.
Do we need a letter?
There is no need for a letter to carry with you when you go out, like there was in the spring lockdown. This time the rules are less strict and take into account the needs of children and disabled people better.
You can read the most up to date guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
Mencap have an easy read guide to the new rules that explains them really clearly.
Or visit our Covid-19 pages for the latest SEND-specific advice.