Childminding services can restart from today in Scotland for the first time since lockdown restrictions were eased last week.
Government public health guidance stipulates that childminders aren’t allowed to provide childcare to more than four households and should prioritise the children of key workers.
Childminders had to close their settings at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic unless they were remaining open to provide critical childcare for key workers and vulnerable children.
The new guidance, which has been published following consultations with the Care Inspectorate and Health Protection Scotland, advises childminders to continue to prioritise spaces for critical childcare.
Childminders can use their discretion to allocate available spaces to other families – but there is no obligation to re-open services.
Graeme McAlister, CEO of the Scottish Childminding Association, said: “The limit of no more than four families at any one time is not too far away from the capacity that most childminders normally have with six children.
“So we think it is workable. I think childminders as a group are resilient, they are adaptable, and I think they will change their practice over the next few weeks,” he added.
The guidance states that there will be restrictions on numbers and capacity during the early phases of recovery, with a maximum of four families (excluding the childminder’s own) allowed to attend a childminding setting at any one time.
In addition, the guidance includes detail on increased hygiene measures, small group working and physical distancing of adults.
The changes only apply to childminders at the moment – family members, babysitters and nannies are not allowed to offer childcare unless they meet specific criteria.
More information is available here.