This new lockdown rule will help single parents and new mums
- Credit: Archant
Children under school age have been exempted from the two-person limit on people meeting outdoors – throwing new parents a lifeline.
For single parents or those with newborns, the exemption will be a huge help to ease the social isolation expected to come with a second national lockdown.
Lauren Schaefer and her sister Evie are very close – they live in Ipswich and had babies 11 weeks apart.
However, despite living in houses on the same street ,they will only be able to meet up together outdoors when the new rules are expected to come into force on Thursday.
“It’s really upsetting not being able to see each other,” the 30-year-old explained.
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“This is a little change to the rules but it gives us the chance to meet up with my two children and her newborn.
“Our mum is single and lives alone and has to choose which of us to bubble with, so now she’ll be able to see us on walks outdoors at least.”
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Another Suffolk mum, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Its a relief we can see a friend, I get very worried about the damage to social skills for younger children not in school or nursery – plus it can be a bit lonely not talking to another adult all day.”
Jo Cresdee, CEO of Suffolk Babies, welcomes the change in rules but fears it isn’t much but a token gesture in practical terms.
“This is brilliant for mums with really young immobile babies, but for parents with toddlers they are then responsible for keeping them distanced which is a nightmare,” she explained.
“Even for parents of babies which can’t walk or crawl, this doesn’t allow for any support of people who really just need someone to watch their child so they can do some household work, have a bath or take some time to sleep.”
Ms Cresdee says the rule change is a “crowd pleaser” but fears the cold weather will mean parents of newborns won’t be able to fully take advantage of it throughout November.
She agrees support bubbles for single parents have worked really well, and even thinks all new parents with young children should be allowed to form them.
The organisation saw a rise in perinatal mental health issues during the first lockdown and fears the second will cause further issues for isolated parents.