The government has said it will introduce “support bubbles” to combat loneliness of people most affected by coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
From June 13, people in England who live alone or with children under 18 but no other adults can meet up with one other household of any size.
The rules do not apply to other nations in the UK.
Boris Johnson announced these groups, called “support bubbles” at the daily coronavirus press conference yesterday where he outlined new measures to lift lockdown restrictions.
The government has described this as a “targeted intervention” for those cut off from family, friends and partners.
How exactly will the “bubbles” work?
If you are someone who lives with no other adults, you can choose one other household to meet up with.
This means a family could meet up with a grandparent if that grandparent lives alone, and you can meet up with your partner, as long as one of you lives alone. You are allowed to spend the night with someone if you are in an exclusive bubble. Parents who are separated with children under 18 are already allowed to operate as though they are in a bubble, and could still form a bubble with another household that consists of only one adult.
People who are especially at risk from Covid-19 and shielding cannot form bubbles, as they are more vulnerable to the virus. People at higher risk of being exposed to coronavirus, such as healthcare workers, should take particular care over deciding whether or not to form a bubble.
Once you choose your bubble, you cannot swap or expand it. You can travel as far as you’d like to those in your bubble, but as usual, it is recommended that you avoid public transport. If someone in the bubble becomes infected with coronavirus, everyone in the bubble must isolate.
Bubbles can behave as though they live in the same house, sharing equipment and not maintainng a 2 metre distance.
However, good hygiene is still important, and the larger the bubble, the greater the risk of catching the disease.
If you are not eligible to form a bubble, you can still only see up to five people outdoors, keeping 2 metres apart. You can still be fined for breaking the new rules.