Relief as children below school age exempted from ‘rule of two outdoors’

Children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people

Children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside. Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Children under school age will be exempt from the rule of two outdoors, the government has confirmed, in a bid to tackle loneliness for new parents heading into lockdown.

The Government has cleared up its rules on how many people can meet outdoors after growing confusion from worried parents.

With a national lockdown looming, parents, unable to go to baby classes during the Covid-19 restrictions, feared that government rules might have made looking after themselves and their children even harder this winter.

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns said she remembered the “loneliness” of being a new mother.

She tweeted: “As we prepare to go into a second lockdown, it’s important that we support new mums. I remember the loneliness. That’s why I’m calling for under ones to be exempted from the two-person outdoor meeting rule, so that two new mums can meet together in lockdown.”


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Now health minister Nadine Dorries has said children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside.

Joeli Brearley, chief executive and founder of the parental rights group Pregnant Then Screwed, described the update as a relief to “anxious” parents but felt the welfare of mothers and their children should have been thought about from the start.

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She said: “The second lockdown has meant a whole host of new gaps of information for parents that we’re desperately trying to fill. Parents of children under school age can breathe a sigh of relief that they can meet another person with their child. These issues really do need to be considered from the outset.”

Ms Brearley, whose group has campaigned on the issue, was “grateful” to ministers for the positive outcome but said “if more mothers were part of the strategic planning and decision-making groups in Westminster then gaps wouldn’t need to be filled retrospectively”.

Ms Dorries tweeted: “Children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside. This will mean that a parent can see a friend or family member with their baby or young children.

“Children and adults who are dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, will also be included.”

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