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Support bubbles

The aim of a support bubble is to help people who’ve been cut off from friends and family.

What is a support bubble?

A bubble is defined as a group of people with whom you have close physical contact.

In England, single adults living alone – or single parents whose children are under 18 – can form a support bubble with one other household.

The second household can be of any size and can include “at risk” people who were previously shielding.

Wherever possible, the government recommends that a support bubble should be with another local household to avoid unnecessary travel.

How do they work in England?

Bubbles must be “exclusive”. Once in one, you can’t switch and start another with a different household.

People in each bubble can stay overnight in each other’s homes, visit outdoors places together and do not have to socially distance.

Anyone in the bubble contacted as part of England’s test and trace programme must stay at home. If they develop coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the bubble must self-isolate.

Childcare bubbles

As well as the support bubble rules, the government in England also has a set of rules that apply to families with children under 14 (as well as to vulnerable adults).

They can form a childcare bubble with one other household to provide informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare. This must always be between the same two households.

And if you are single

  • Two single people each living alone could bubble
  • Someone in a house share could bubble – but their housemates wouldn’t be allowed to form their own bubbles with other people

Full government guidelines for England are here.