Belgian policymakers have been called upon to allow expanded bubbles for single parents, in order to allow them access to help from friends and family.
A total of seven organisations have called on the Consultative Committee to discuss the matter during the meeting on Friday, and help single parents gain support from using their usual family or friends’ mutual aid network.
“It takes several hours a week to drive or pick up the children from school when the single parent’s schedule does not allow it,” the open letter explains. This is why it is vital to allow access to a support network “to babysit when the parent is fulfilling their various obligations, or simply to look after the children from time to time so that the single parent can breathe a sigh of relief,” it adds.
“It is not a question of easing the health rules at all costs. But it is a matter of softening the daily life of families facing particular difficulties, just as it has been done for people living alone,” said the general director of La Ligue des Familles, Christophe Cocu.
The letter is signed by the League of Families, the House of Solo Parents, Vie féminine, Femmes prévoyantes socialistes, Mères Veilleuses, le Petit vélo jaune and Hamac.
Usually, single-parent families have a whole network around them that will help them, but due to the restricted contact rules, this network cannot be activated for the moment, according to Cocu.
According to the current rules, households can only receive one chosen close contact (so-called ‘cuddle contact’) inside their home at the same time.
“This bubble of maximum one extra person makes the reconciliation between professional and family life very difficult for these families,” he said. “We ask that single-parent families be considered isolated households to be able to have the right to a second contact. This would support the family in these complicated times.”
Belgium’s Consultative Committee is meeting on Friday afternoon to evaluate the current situation and measures, and discuss a possible timeline for reopening several sectors that have been affected by the pandemic.