Tory ministers today revealed a major new exemption for young parents in England’s national lockdown.
Babies and toddlers will no longer count towards a two-person limit on meetups in an open area, like a park.
This means, for instance, that new mums will still be able to see a friend or family member while holding their baby.
The regulations are part of a month-long national lockdown which starts in England from 12.01 am on Thursday.
Social mixing, indoors and outdoors, will be prohibited between people not from the same home or bubble.
A major exemption is that two people from two homes can still meet in a public open area, like a park, as long as they socially distance.
The regulation is designed to throw a lifeline to friendships and family members and to prevent people from being isolated, but only two people in total can take part in such assemblages.
That is despite the fact new parents need to be holding their baby, who is already a second person, at the time, but that had raised fears new parents would be excluded and isolated at the time they needed social contact the most.
A Health Minister said, that due to the concerns, children under school age will now be exempted from the rule and they will no longer count towards the limit of two people assembling outdoors.
Neither will older children or adults who are dependent on round the clock care, such as those with severe disabilities.
Health Minister Nadine Dorries confirmed the move on Twitter and she said that children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people assembling outdoors.
And she said that this would mean that a parent can see a friend or family member with their baby or young children and she added that children and adults who are dependent on round the clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, would also be included and that the guidance will be revised to reflect this.
The change is a major departure from the rule of six which controlled crowds up until the lockdown and under the rule of six, children counted towards the six-person limit on assemblages no matter how young or old.
Labour MP Stella Creasy had raised concerns, tweeting: “Hard to see how a baby is distinct from a parent in transmission stakes at such a young age and given growing crisis of postnatal maternal health vital mums not stuck at home this next month!”
TV star Kirstie Allsopp was among those who had raised concerns and she tweeted: “If you are allowed to meet one other person while walking outside that must exclude a baby in a pram, and if doesn’t it is frankly barbaric.
“Have we learned nothing about the acute, long term danger to all family members of PND?!!!”
Is anyone baffled by the new rules?
Well, some will be extremely confused by them and some might say that it’s ridiculous.
For months grandparents were not permitted to see their families, children and grandchildren together, but now we’re in another lockdown you can see them all providing their under school age, extremely confusing if you ask me.
And I’m sure anyone under the age of about 11 years old needs around the clock care, not just babies and toddlers. It’s not like you could leave your 7-year-old in the house alone while you went shopping.
And are the Government for real – meet up in a park in the middle of winter, they know anyone in their right mind wouldn’t subject their children to that kind of torment and you couldn’t make this babble up if you tried, but the Government have and Boris Johnson appears to be making this up as he goes along.
So, what about people that don’t have children, what are they supposed to do? Next Boris Johnson will be telling us to take a brisk hike around the park in the middle of the winter, and don’t forget soon the snow will be here.
Not only that, what about those poor people out there that have no home to go to and that are out on the streets, some being told that they can sofa surf even though we’re not supposed to be in other people’s homes.
But it’s a good ploy by our trusted Government. Go out to the park to see your friends and family as long as you socially distance, come rain, or snow – don’t worry about getting sick or ending up with pneumonia – the Government don’t care because it’s one less person to worry about.