Children should not be playing out with anyone outside their own household or support bubble, the government has confirmed.
With rules in Greater Manchester being tighter than elsewhere – and the areas of Wigan and Stockport only just being added – there’s been much confusion over what youngsters can and can’t do.
While it’s against the law to mix with other households in their homes or gardens, it’s also ‘advised’ that people don’t mix elsewhere – including kids playing in their street or gathering in parks.
So while they are allowed out – providing they are not self-isolating – they should only be playing with their own siblings, or children that are in their support bubble, such as two families that have joined up for childcare purposes.
If they walk to school, they should only be walking with children from their own school bubble.
Many parents have told the Manchester Evening News’ Manchester Family that they find the rules confusing, especially when children are being kept away from classmates they spend much of the day with.
One dad told us: “It’s really confusing and just plain daft. They can be the same room with their friends at school all day, but can’t go and play in the park with them afterwards.”
Another parent said: “It’s hard enough for children at the moment, but when they’re being told they can’t play with friends it makes things even harder.
“It’s OK for people with gardens as siblings can play there, but if they haven’t then they obviously want to play in the street and it’s not realistic to expect them to stay away from any other children who are playing there too.”
The rule that’s written into law – with fines for those who break it – states: “If you live in the affected local area, you must not meet or host people you do not live with in private homes or gardens unless they are in your support bubble.”
But in addition to the law, is the advice and that states: “In addition to these restrictions, we advise that you should not: socialise with people you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble, in any public venue. This applies to inside and outside of the affected areas.
“Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks.”
The DHSC confirmed that the reference to ‘parks’ is all public parks, not simply theme parks for instance.
A spokesman said: “The advice is to not mix with other households. So children could play in groups of up to six within their household/support bubble.”
News – The rules on kids playing out in Greater Manchester during lockdown