Advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) for families and childcarers
In response to the many calls and questions we have received from parents and childcarers, we have put together this information for you.
Why would people need to use Sitters at the moment?
Public Health England (PHE) has advised that keeping children at home is best and that schools are open for the children of key workers, only as a last resort. With most other childcare settings now closed, you may be a parent in need of emergency childcare at the present time if you are:
- A parent who is a key worker and you need to go to work (but your children are not at school)
- A parent who needs to go to a job that cannot be done from home
- A parent who needs to work from home but requires additional help with childcare
- A parent who is supporting other family members and needs to leave the house (e.g. to shop for and deliver essentials, medication etc)
Am I allowed to use Sitters?
Our top priorities are to keep Sitters families and childcarers safe and healthy, and to help fight the spread of the virus. It is absolutely essential to read and follow PHE's official stay at home advice and to follow NHS handwashing guidance.
The Prime Minister announced on Monday 23rd March 2020 that leaving the house is only permitted in certain circumstances. One of these was “Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.” Sitters childcarers cannot carry out childcare from their own homes, so childcarers travelling to work appear to fall within the exception. To allow key workers to perform critical work, childcarers can be seen as essential workers to allow this to continue.
What if I (or a member of my household) have symptoms?
Please do not arrange a booking request or accept a booking if you should be isolating in line with official PHE advice. If you or anyone in your household develops coronavirus symptoms, however mild, you should immediately cancel any bookings you have. Read the official PHE advice about coronavirus symptoms and isolation here.
What if a member of my household is in a vulnerable group?
You can find official PHE advice about vulnerable groups here. Please follow this advice carefully.
Travel to and from bookings
The official advice is currently to avoid public transportation. Wherever possible, sitters childcarers should travel by car, bicycle or walk to their booking if practical to do so. However it is still permitted for people to go to work if their work cannot be carried out at home (which babysitting cannot be).
We are monitoring the latest government advice and if anything changes, we will of course keep you updated.
Keeping in touch
You will always be given a contact telephone number for the parent or childcarer you are working with for each booking and we encourage you to talk to them before the booking takes place.
Our focus at this difficult and uncertain time is supporting Sitters families and childcarers. If you have any questions, please let us know either by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can leave a voicemail on 03330 032888 and one of our team will get back to you.