TOUGH new Covid restrictions will hit 99 per cent of England post-lockdown.
So what does that mean for parents trying to juggle work and caring commitments from December 2?
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What are the changes to childcare in Tier 2 areas?
The government wants all children to continue attending early years provision.
Across all tiers, post-lockdown from December 2, "early years settings remain open in all tiers", it says.
Under national restrictions from November 5, for England's second Covid shut-down, early years settings and childminders also remained open.
Can grandparents babysit their grandchildren?
Tier 2's high alert status has been assigned to areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place.
The government says that you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
If grandparents are in your support bubble, they are fine to babysit grandkids.
"When it comes to childcare it is reassuring to hear that grandparents will continue to be allowed to provide 'informal childcare' regardless of their local Tier restrictions," says Gransnet.
According to the government website, "childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so."
Gransnet helpfully explains: "So as grandparents, if you look after your grandchildren, providing what the government refers to as 'informal childcare', then you are able to see your grandchildren for that purpose.
"This does not apply to households where the youngest child is 14 or over.
"It also does not mean that you can meet with them for other social occasions."
Can schools and nurseries stay open and what are the new rules?
From December 2, "across all tiers, everyone should attend school or college as normal, unless they are self-isolating.
"Schools, universities, colleges and early years settings remain open in all tiers" says the government.
The government says its advice remains that for the vast majority of kids, the benefits of being back in education far outweigh the low risk from coronavirus.
Nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges have implemented a range of protective measures to make them as safe as possible.
Schools and colleges can and should also be continuing to offer before and after school activities for their pupils.
This is to enable parents to work, seek work or to undertake education or training, and to provide respite care for vulnerable children.
If you live in a Tier 2 area, you should avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for education.
During the second lockdown, childcare – including nurseries – and education were the exceptions that children, young people and parents and carers could leave their home for.
Are nannies and childminders allowed to work?
The government has said that nannies will be able to continue providing services in the home from December 2.
You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children, adds Childcare.
Childminders, nannies and babysitters were able to work during the second lockdown.
Childcare has introduced a 'Virtual Nanny' "which allows a nanny to work from the nanny's own home if the child's parents are working from home.
"Having a Virtual Nanny is something that nannies and their employers may like to consider and the idea is already providing very popular."
Can grandparents travel to different tiers to look after grandkids?
Grandparents can travel to different tiers to look after their grandkids from December 2.
As grandparents, if you look after your grandchildren, providing what the government refers to as 'informal childcare', then you are able to see your grandchildren for that purpose.
Gransnet advises that there is "nothing in the government guidelines stating that you are not allowed to be part of a support bubble as well as a childcare bubble.
"It does however make sense to limit your number of contacts, and therefore risk of cross-infection, as much as possible."
It also points out that grandparents can't change childcare bubbles: "The government website is clear that if you start a childcare bubble after the 5th November, you can not change that bubble.
"So for instance, if you are already looking after your son's children, you are not able to then switch and start looking after your daughter's children."
The government also says that, as of December 2:
- If you live in a Tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there.
- Avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for caring responsibilities.
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