Coronavirus crisis: Do the new rules make a weekend playdate okay again?

DO your kids need to socialise again? Can they? Photo: Shutterstock
DO your kids need to socialise again? Can they? Photo: Shutterstock

For weeks kids have been cooped up at home, only able to talk to their friends online.

But it's unclear if they're be able to visit those friends in person under the new relaxation to the rules about being out of the house.

From Friday, May 1, the NSW government is easing the rules around going over to someone's house.

"The new changes allow a maximum of two adults, and their children under 18 years, to visit another person's home," a NSW Government spokesman said.

"This will help to reduce social isolation and improve everybody's mental health."

That ruling specifies children can accompany a parent visiting another person's house - but does it allow for the child to visit on their own?

For instance, can an eight-year-old have a friend over for a playdate? Or can a teenager ride their skateboard over to a mate's place and hang out?

Hello again: Josie Humphries is hoping the rules that allow adults to visit also means she can go and see her friends. Picture: Robert Peet

Hello again: Josie Humphries is hoping the rules that allow adults to visit also means she can go and see her friends. Picture: Robert Peet

Asking the government about that did not result in a simple "yes or no" answer.

"It will also continue to be a reasonable excuse for a person to leave their house to access childcare," the spokesman said.

"Childcare may include informal childcare, such as child care provided by a friend or relative."

That suggests that a child can have a friend over because their parent is technically providing "child care" to the visitor, but it's not exactly clear.

But maybe, after a month stuck at home away from their friends, that suggestion is good enough to see kids going over to their friend's house this weekend.

Because if the move to allow adults to visit is to aid mental health, then surely the same would apply for children.

More broadly, the new rules don't require the visiting adults to be related and there is no limit on how far they can travel within NSW as long as the reason is consistent with one of the four categories for leaving home.

The government has stressed that social distancing needs to be maintained during the visit and extra hygiene precautions are taken.

Catching up in outdoor areas of the house such as a home garden, backyard or verandah will help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The two-person gathering limit still applies to public places.

This story Do the new rules make a weekend playdate okay again? first appeared on The Canberra Times.