Families and some politicians were left unsure of what restrictions announced for the North East on Thursday, September 17, meant for parents who relied on grandparents and other family members for childcare.
The Government has now released its full details on restrictions for the region, which state only professional, registered childcare can be used – though if a relative is in a “support bubble” with a family, that is permitted.
It reads: “Friends or family who do not live with you must not visit your home to help with childcare unless they are part of your support bubble.
"The only people who should help you with childcare in your home are people you live with, people in your support bubble, or registered childcare providers including nannies.”
The document adds: “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. You can also continue to employ nannies – see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes.
“Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.”
It is understood North East councils had asked for informal childcare to be exempt.
A briefing document from the LA7 group reads: “A request for informal childcare arrangements – for example grandparents in a different household providing care for a key worker – was rejected by Government who insisted on formal childcare arrangements only. "
The rules apply in Sunderland, South Tyneside, Northumberland, County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle and North Tyneside.
Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and other areas in the Tees Valley were not covered by restrictions announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock for the North East.