National restrictions began in England on 5 November
Limit your social interactions to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you want to have close contact with people, make a support bubble with another household. This is the safest way for you to see other people.
What a support bubble is
A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult or a household with one adult and one or more people who were under the age of 18 on 12 June 2020 in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.
This is called making a ‘support bubble’.
Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means you can have close contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.
Once you make a support bubble, you cannot change who is in your bubble.
Continue to follow social distancing guidance with people outside of your household or support bubble. This is critical to keeping you, your family and friends as safe as possible.
Who can make a support bubble
If you’re in a single-adult household
You can form a support bubble with another household of any size that is not part of a support bubble with anyone else if you:
- live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support
- are a single adult living with children who were under 18 on 12 June 2020
If you live with other adults, including if your carer or carers live with you
You can form a support bubble with one single-adult household who are not part of a support bubble with anyone else.
If you share custody of your child with someone you do not live with
If you’re a single-adult household, you can form a support bubble with another household other than the one that includes your child’s other parent.
If you’re not a single adult household, you can form a support bubble with a single-adult household other than the one that includes your child’s other parent.
If you have children under 14
You may be able to form a childcare bubble. This is separate from support bubbles.
If you’re eligible, you can form one childcare bubble and one support bubble with different households.
You must not meet socially with your support bubble and childcare bubble at the same time. Childcare bubbles must be used exclusively for the purposes of childcare.
Try to limit travelling far to make a support bubble
The government recommends that you form a support bubble with a household that lives locally wherever possible. This will help to prevent the virus spreading from an area where there might be a higher rate of infection.
Do not change your support bubble
From 14 September, if you form or continue in a support bubble, you cannot then change your support bubble. It does not have to be the same support bubble you may have been in previously.
If someone in your support bubble develops coronavirus symptoms or tests positive
If you share custody of your child, and you and your child’s other parent are in separate bubbles, members of both bubbles should stay at home if someone develops symptoms.
This is critical to controlling the virus, as it will help to stop it spreading across multiple households.
If NHS Test and Trace contacts someone in your support bubble
If NHS Test and Trace contacts you or someone in your support bubble, you should follow their guidance.
If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable
If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you should reduce social contacts as much as possible. You will minimise your risk of infection if you limit all your contacts, particularly with people that you do not live with.
However, if you feel it is essential for your physical or mental health, you can maintain an existing support bubble, or form a new one if you have not been in one since 14 September, in line with wider regulations for the period that national restrictions apply. This is a personal choice and should be balanced against the increased risk of infection.
Those defined, on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus are people with specific serious health conditions.