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lockdown support How 'social bubbles' can make life in Level 5 easier for people living alone

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The lockdown landscape has changed this time around but the basic aim is the same: separate people as much as possible so we don't infect one another.

The exceptions are permission to create "social bubbles" as well as keeping schools and creches open.

A social bubble is not a licence to party - it is meant as a middle-ground way of allowing people who are living alone to interact with the same limited group while still containing the risk of mixing with others. Always beware of leaky bubbles.

Living alone

If this lockdown is to work in the fastest time possible we all have to ration our social interactions.

Central to the objective of the social bubble is to make life easier for people living alone such the elderly who need company as well as support.

Currently, there is a ban on household visits with the exception of caring and compassionate grounds. A social bubble would allow a small list of people to form a network.

Bubbling up

Adults, including those over 70 who are living alone, or single parents living with children under the age of 18, can mix with one other household.

They can interact as though they were one. This means those in a support bubble are allowed to spend time together indoors.

They are not required to follow the two-metre rule. Overnight stays are allowed.

Public health doctors here would err on the side of advising people to, if possible, follow social distancing and wear a mask. If children over 18 are at home you can't form a bubble.

Before you form your support bubble, think about any potential risks - is there anyone in certain households that's more exposed to the virus?

Members of bubble

Older people can form a bubble with the household of an adult son or daughter. Single parents can team up with their own parents. Couples in a relationship who do not live together are also able to visit and to stay.

If one half of a couple shares a dwelling with one or more others, they can form a support bubble with their partner. The partner has to live alone.

But if their partner also house shares, the couple cannot form a support bubble.

Two single friends, each living alone, could bubble up.

Someone in a house-share could bubble up - but their fellow housemates cannot form their own bubbles with other people.

Herald


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