From 13 June, adults who live by themselves and single parents with children under 18 living at home in England can join up with one other household to create a support bubble.
What exactly is a support bubble?
Forming this support bubble means you effectively become one household – you can act as if you all lived together. This means you can do things such as go round to their house, stay for the night and travel together in private vehicles. You don’t need to socially distance from others in your support bubble.
But once you’ve formed your support bubble, you can’t change who’s in it. From 4 July, you are also able to spend time inside with one other household. This is different from a support bubble as you’ll need to socially distance from people in the other household, and you shouldn’t spend time together in places where you can’t keep your distance, such as in cars.
Who can I form a support bubble with?
For two households to form a support bubble, at least one of the households must be a single adult household – either an adult living alone or a single parent with children under 18 living with them. The other household can be any size.
But there are some things to consider before you decide to form a support bubble:
- You can travel to and form another household in your support bubble, but it’s still best to avoid public transport. It might therefore be easier to be in a support bubble with a household local to you. Also, the rules in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are different so you can’t form a support bubble with households in these parts of the UK.
- The more people you spend time with, the higher the risk of infection from coronavirus. So while there are no rules on the size of the household you can join up with, it’s safer to make a support bubble with a smaller group of people.
- Before you form your support bubble, think about any potential risks to your health. For example, is there anyone in certain households that’s more exposed to the virus, such as healthcare workers?
If you are over the age of 70 then you are still able to form a support bubble.
However, we know that people over the age of 70 are at greater risk from coronavirus so you may want to take extra care. You might want to avoid forming a bubble with a household that is more exposed to coronavirus, for example if there are people in the home who are healthcare workers.
Everyone in your support bubble should take extra care when meeting up with people outside of the bubble. This includes maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres and following proper hygiene measures, including washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap.
Currently if you are considered clinically extremely vulnerable then you cannot form a support bubble, this guidance will change from 6 July where you will be able to form a support bubble as long as you or another household live alone or with dependent children under 18. As you are more at risk of severe illness you may want to consider other risk factors such as whether someone in the support bubble is a health or care worker and so is in contact with people with coronavirus before you decide to form a support bubble.
If anyone in your support bubble develops symptoms of coronavirus or tests positive for coronavirus then everyone in the bubble will need to self-isolate.
For more information on when, and for how long, you need to self-isolate see the government’s information on test and trace.