In England, if you live by yourself or are a single parent with dependent children – in other words, if there is only one adult in your home – you can expand your support network so that it includes one other household of any size. This is called making a ‘support bubble’ and means you are able to meet indoors or out, be less than 2 metres apart and stay overnight as you could if they were members of your own household.
We recognise how difficult this time has been, particularly on lonely and isolated people, and this change is designed to provide extra support to some of those most impacted by the current social restrictions. Once you are in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as in a single household.
There are key principles for how you can form a support bubble safely. These are critical to keeping you – and your friends and family – safe and saving lives:
support bubbles must be exclusive – you should not change who is in your bubble or have close contact with anyone else you do not live with. This is critical to keeping you, and your family and friends, safe
if you or someone in your support bubble is showing coronavirus symptoms, or otherwise self-isolating, everyone in your support bubble should stay home. If you or a member of your support bubble is contacted as part of the test and trace programme, the individual contacted should stay at home. If the individual becomes symptomatic, everyone in the support bubble should then isolate
It is not yet possible for those who are not in a support bubble to start meeting inside other people’s homes – that remains against the law unless covered by any other limited circumstances as set out in the law. This is critical to helping us control the virus and keep people safe.
Forming a support bubble with another household means you can meet – indoors or out – and be closer than 2 metres from each other. You can also stay overnight as if you lived with that household. This means you are able to have closer contact with those in your support bubble, which should help provide additional support to those who need it. You should continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines in full with other households.
This is really important to keep you and others in your support bubble safe by avoiding the risk of infection to those in your bubble. The risk of infection rises with the number of people in a bubble and the number of interactions you have with people you do not live with, so it’s important to take measures to try and protect against this. This means that support bubbles must be exclusive – you should only form a bubble with one household and they should only be in a bubble with you.
You must not gather indoors or stay overnight with anyone outside of this bubble and should not change your bubble. If you are in a single adult household, you may also want to consider making a bubble with another smaller household where possible. Everyone in a support bubble should isolate when one member of the bubble becomes symptomatic or tests positive for coronavirus.
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