Coronavirus firebreak and children’s play
To help regain control of coronavirus, the Welsh Government will introduce a two-week ‘firebreak’ across Wales on Friday 23 October until Monday 9 November. It will apply to everyone living in Wales and will replace the local restrictions which are in force in some parts of the country.
What does this mean for children’s opportunities to play outdoors? Welsh Government guidance says:
Will children’s playgrounds be open?
Yes. The benefits of outdoor play to children are significant and keeping parks and playgrounds open supports children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Outdoor environments are lower risk in relation to coronavirus transmission.
However, risk cannot be eliminated, and parents and guardians are encouraged to ensure playgrounds do not get too busy, and take responsibility for social distancing, especially for adults and children over 11. In particular, you must not arrange to meet with other households at playgrounds and should not socialise there.
We also encourage frequent handwashing or sanitisation, not eating or drinking in parks, wiping down equipment with your own wipes, and maintaining low numbers within parks and on equipment by taking turns or using parks at less busy times.
Will parks be open?
Yes, parks are allowed to remain open for outdoor exercise. You can attend parks with members of your household but you must not arrange to meet with other households.
Are childcare providers still allowed to operate?
Yes. Children can continue to access their usual childcare provider, and you can travel to provide, access or receive childcare. Children can also continue to attend staffed playwork provision, like open access play sessions.
All childcare and playwork providers, including Flying Start childcare, can remain open and offer their normal services, including provision through the half term holidays. This includes childcare and playwork providers operating from community centres, places of worship and school sites. Nannies can also continue to provide childcare.
Are activities and clubs for children allowed to run?
No. With the exception of very limited circumstances (such as clubs for childcare and those running over the school holidays), mixing between households is not permitted during this period. This includes all indoor and outdoor gatherings, including activities such as Scouts groups, parent and toddler groups and dance classes. This reflects that people including children should not be spending time with people they do not live with unless essential.
The Welsh Government has also published Childcare and play: coronavirus firebreak guidance, which provides information for parents and childcare and play providers.