Childcare to restart as ‘social bubbles’ of people allowed by June

The public will soon be able to meet one person from outside their household, with social "bubbles" expected by June.

The government's 51 page "road-map" entitled "our plan to rebuild" to get out of coronavirus lockdown has been published and lays out when people can meet their family and friends again.

The plan is split into three stages, with stage one beginning on Wednesday.

Under the plan published this afternoon in stage one people can meet one other person outside their household, as long as they socially distance.

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Stage one – from Wednesday May 13

In the plan people can meet up with just one person from outside their own household outdoors, but it must be at a distance of two metres.

People can exercise outdoors as many times a day as they want, including sport such as angling and tennis.

But team sports, playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues are still prohibited.

People can drive to outdoor open spaces at any distance away as long as they observe social distancing guidance.

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The plan states: “These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date. The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.”

A government source explained: “You could go to the park with a whole household for leisure, not just exercise, for a picnic, sunbathing.

“Alternatively if just you went out (on your own) you could meet one other person not from your household in the park provided they sit two metres away from you.

“What you can’t do is combine those two things. ”

People will be permitted to play sport with people from outside their household, such as tennis or golf, as long as they observe the social distancing rules.

The source said: “People will have to apply common sense to this."

Stage two – from June

Scientists on the government’s Sage committee have been asked to look at whether, when and how the rules can be changed to allow one household to expand its social group to include one other household exclusively in a group.

The document said: "The Government has asked SAGE to examine whether, when and how it can safely change the regulations to allow people to expand their household group to include one other household in the same exclusive group.

"The intention of this change would be to allow those who are isolated some more social contact, and to reduce the most harmful effects of the current social restrictions, while continuing to limit the risk of chains of transmission. It would also support some families to return to work by, for example, allowing two households to share childcare.

"This could be based on the New Zealand model of household "bubbles" where a single "bubble" is the people you live with.

"As in New Zealand, the rationale behind keeping household groups small is to limit the number of social contacts people have and, in particular, to limit the risk of interhousehold transmissions."

The government is also examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings.

Childcare – from Wednesday May 13

Paid childcare, including nannies and childminders, can now take place as long as it can meet the public health principles set out in the document “because these are roles where working from home is not possible."

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The document says: "This should enable more working parents to return to work."

Councils and schools should encourage more vulnerable children and children of key workers to attend school, as only 2% of children are now doing so.