Our view: How school closures will impact parents and businesses

C&IT's associate editor examines how closing down schools because of coronavirus will affect event professionals with young families.

It’s day two of working from home. Many of the working people I know are still relatively cheerful about the lack of commute and the extra time with loved ones (though that is, of course, a very different picture for elders who face loneliness and the stress from having to employ social distancing or self-isolation).

One colleague mentioned the pub with regret. As we all now know, pubs, clubs, restaurants and the like are no longer recommended after the UK prime minister's belated intervention.

But the one thing most of my younger colleagues are not talking about is childcare.

Until recently, at my home in south London, we had a close relative who would look after our three-year-old for a day and a half, while my wife and I were at work.

That’s no longer possible based on government advice. Somehow, we, like many others, have been suddenly left without cover.

Despite all the hours of planning that go into finding a semblance of work-life balance, it’s all changed within a few days.

Now elders, grandparents and those over 70 are rightly adopting a safety-first approach of social distancing.

It stands as obvious and an absolute priority, that people deemed vulnerable to the worst impacts of COVID-19 should not be exposed to the germ magnets that children are.

Even though these unendingly generous, vital and selfless souls would clearly prefer to be on hand to help their struggling loved ones.

Now we will have to work with a toddler around our ankles.

As most parents know, trial and error show that for the most part, young children and focussed work are generally mutually exclusive.

It will be interesting (funny) to see how my son reacts to me joining a daily video conference call with the rest of my team.

Many will recall the unexpected distraction for professor Robert Kelly who was gatecrashed by his two very young children as he was being interviewed on live TV at home on BBC News.

It must stand as obvious the impact that schools and nurseries closing will have on parents, but also, as the government is no doubt aware, the economy.

Businesses leaders know it too.

If we are to put our children, teachers and care providers more generally first, there will be huge pressure placed on parents, who make up a large part of the workforce.

And inevitably there will be a massive burden on the agencies, corporate and association planners, venues, hotels and other supporting businesses in our sector.

How has the coronavirus affected you? Please fill in this 15-question survey (all answers are anonymous) so that we can provide a measure of the impact of this pandemic worldwide.

For more features and breaking news sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in

BVEP elects new chairperson

BVEP elects new chairperson

The Business Visits & Events Partnership has also set up a new executive committee to advocate for the industry.

'The industry needs strong leadership on sustainable change'

'The industry needs strong leadership on sustainable change'

Getting back to business as usual is no longer an option, says Selina Donald, founder of The Bulb.

LIVE UPDATES: India extends national lockdown to 31 May

LIVE UPDATES: India extends national lockdown to 31 May

Find out which countries are on partial or national lockdown, what travel restrictions are in place and what size gatherings are allowed.

Why online conferences are great for introverts

Why online conferences are great for introverts

The switch to digital events has been a bonus for less outgoing types, says founder of SaaStock.

One week to enter the C&IT Awards Americas

One week to enter the C&IT Awards Americas

As C&IT expands its reach globally, we've launched the C&IT Awards Americas to recognise the best in US events.

Drive-in cinemas could have a starring role in the return to live experiences

Drive-in cinemas could have a starring role in the return to live experiences

A socially distanced return to live events could see people being entertained from the comfort of their cars.

‘I’ve been mourning my old life’

‘I’ve been mourning my old life’

Event planner and founder of The Professional Retreat reflects on how being furloughed and in lockdown has changed her world view.

Two major industry associations rejoin BVEP

Two major industry associations rejoin BVEP

MPI and MIA join forces with Business Visits & Events Partnership, creating a stronger unified voice for the events industry.

Cheerful Twentyfirst hire senior team of folded agency Unicorn Events

Cheerful Twentyfirst hire senior team of folded agency Unicorn Events

Brand experience company brings in three of the team from Unicorn, which closed for business amid the coronavirus crisis.

Case study: The virtual event for 8,700 delegates

Case study: The virtual event for 8,700 delegates

Drift's Virtual Summit for its sales and marketing community was organised in six weeks by agency emc3.