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People will rely on family and friends for a ‘dig out’ until creches reopen, says minister

The government plan sets out that creches will open on 29 June.

Image: Shutterstock/Oksana Kuzmina

PEOPLE WILL RELY on family and friends to help care for children in the home until creches reopen, Health Minister Simon Harris said yesterday.

Childcare facilities and creches are not scheduled to reopen until 29 June.

However, with many shops and business now permitted to open under Phase 2, there have been some criticisms that some workers will find themselves unable to return to work due to childcare services remaining closed.

“It’s not ideal and I don’t suggest it is but people will be relying on family and friends in the interim to give a ‘dig out’ while we get back to formally opening crèches and childcare facilities” Harris told reporters at the Department of Health.

“Under Phase 2 more people can come in and out of your home,” he said. 

While the original plan set out that only four people could visit indoors, that number was yesterday increased to six.

“Under the new rules you can have a small number of people in your home,” added the minister. 

Throughout the pandemic many people have had to come to “local arrangements” for childcare, with the minister stating that many frontline workers have had to do this over the last couple of months.

While the minister said he was “not suggesting it is ideal or a sustainable alternative to childcare, far from it, I am sure it is an interim step lots of people will be taking”.

It was announced last week that childcare facilities will have to operate a “pod” system with small groups of children being looked after by the same carers in the same room

It has been 10 weeks since schools and creches were closed to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Harris said he believes the country is moving towards reopening at the right pace.

He appealed to the public to keep the number of people they are in close contact with low, and to self-isolate immediately if they have any symptoms.

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The minister urged people to keep note of who they meet up with each day, stating that people should ask themselves “who do I need to see?” and limit their contacts to that.

He said we all had a duty of care towards each other to keep close contacts at a sensible level.

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