Published On: Wed, Apr 15th, 2020

Co parenting on lockdown: Can children see both parents?

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Lockdown has been harsh on people everywhere in the country. From the elderly and vulnerable who have to shield themselves for twelve weeks, to people struggling financially and parents who have had to change the way they interact and communicate with their children. Many parents, especially those who share custody or are co-parenting, are still confused about the social distancing rules and whether that means they can’t see their children.

Can children see both of their parents?

When the Government first announced the lockdown, they placed a ban on gatherings of more than two people meeting, unless they live in the same household.

The move left parents questioning how they would work out custody arrangements, and children wondering if they could see their other parent.

Government minister Michael Gove added to the chaos and confusion by announcing: “You should not be moving children from home to home.”

Moments later, however, he backtracked and said he had got it wrong and that parents could, in fact, move between their parents’ homes after all.

Mr Gove added he had not been “sufficiently clear” and what he actually meant was that inter-household movements should be kept to an absolute minimum as opposed to an outright ban.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Gove cleared things up and clarified the correct measures. He said: “It is the case that children under the age of 18 can see both parents.

“I was not clear earlier and I’m grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to be clear now. It is the case that there can be contact.

“One of the things I’m anxious to do is make sure we minimise social contact. But children under the age of 18 can see both parents.”

The Government confirmed it is fine for children to move between different homes as long as parents understand the risks involved.

Dr Hilary and some cabinet ministers have share their recommendation that where possible, children should stick to one house. 

How long will the lockdown last?

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from coronavirus, has said the UK must keep working hard to bring down the numbers.

The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is set to meet this week to discuss the lockdown measures.

Mr Raab hasn’t confirmed when he believes the lockdown will be lifted, but it is likely a decision to extend the measures will go ahead.

He said the Government wouldn’t implement any changes until they were sure it would be safe to do so.

During the daily press conferences held at Downing Street, Mr Raab said: “We don’t expect to make any changes to the measures currently in place at that point and we won’t until we’re confident, as confident as we realistically can be, that any such changes can be safely made.

“We’ve still got a long way to go… we’ve still not passed the peak of this virus.”

The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance reiterated the message.

Sir Vallance said the measures would only be lifted “when we are firmly on the other side” of the peak and can see numbers regularly falling.

A Cabinet source told The Sun: “It’s right and proper that we took action. But we must phase it out at the earliest available opportunity.

“It could lead to many more deaths than the virus itself as the economy tanks, people lose jobs and families get poorer and sicker. We need a game plan for ending this.”

England’s Health Minister Ed Argar agreed and said the country was “not at the stage” where lockdown measures could be relaxed or lifted.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan on April 8 said he believed the peak of the outbreak was ten days away.

Mr Khan said: “I think we’re nowhere near lifting the lockdown. I speak to experts regularly, we think the peak, which is the worst part of the virus, is probably a week and a half away.”

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