New Restrictions Take Hold

Child play time

New restrictions take hold

While many predicted it would be necessary, a new national lockdown was something that everyone had hoped might be avoided. Sadly, this was not to be in England, where the government announced a 4-week period of heavy restrictions that would see ‘non-essential’ businesses once again forced to close their doors. Unlike the lockdown in the spring however, regulated settings have been allowed to continue in operation, but it is still the case that many children’s activity providers have not been allowed to operate during this time.

In other parts of the UK, the story is a little different. Wales held a 2-week firebreak lockdown in late October, which has now lifted. While childcare businesses were able to operate during the firebreak, demand was reportedly lower as parents stayed at home with their children. In Scotland, restrictions on the hospitality sector have remained in place, but not counting local restrictions, a wider lockdown has so far been avoided.  This was also true for Northern Ireland, but the government has now announced new, stricter measures that come into force on 27th November, though childcare will remain open.

While the regional disparities mean that businesses are impacted differently based on their location, there is no doubt that across the UK, this has been a very hard year for the childcare sector. There is some hope on the horizon, however. At the time of writing three vaccines are showing promising results and it is widely expected that a programme of vaccination will begin early next year. While this will take time to have an effect, it does mean that businesses can start to plan for a return to something closer to normality in the long term.

When the current period of lockdown ends, England will return to a regional approach in December. Only three areas of the UK will return to Tier 1 restrictions, with the remainder expected to be placed in the stricter Tiers 2 and 3.

You can find out what restrictions will apply in your local area here: