What a support bubble is
A support bubble is a support network which links 2 households. You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a support bubble.
Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in one ‘household’. It means you can have close contact with the other household in your bubble as if they were members of your own household. This means you do not need to maintain social distance with people in your support bubble.
You should 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.
If you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.
Who can make a support bubble…
Not everybody can form a support bubble. However, on 2 December the rules changed to widen eligibility for forming one.
You can form a support bubble with another household of any size if:
- you live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support
- you are the only adult in your household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability
- your household includes a child who is under the age of one or was under that age on 2 December 2020
- your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5, or was under that age on 2 December 2020
- you are aged 16 or 17 living with others of the same age and without any adults
- you are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 or were under that age on 12 June 2020
You should not form a support bubble with a household that is part of another support bubble.
The two households in the bubble can be of any size, however indoor meetings between households in the bubble are limited to a maximum of 10 people, including children, at any one time.
To contain the risk of spreading the virus, a household cannot be part of more than one bubble.
Therefore, members of the two households within a bubble will not be permitted to have close contact with visitors from a third household. They should maintain social distancing from people outside of their bubble.
What is a childcare bubble?
If you provide childcare to a child or children aged 13 years old or under, you can keep doing so by forming a childcare bubble. By forming a bubble, the child can then spend time in your house. You don't need to be a single adult household to do this, but you can only form a childcare bubble with one other household.
A childcare bubble isn't the same as a support bubble. It's purely for childcare purposes and doesn't mean you can mix socially with another household.
How support bubbles relate to childcare bubbles
A support bubble is different to a childcare bubble. Being in a support bubble does not stop you from forming a childcare bubble.
You might be able to form a childcare bubble to provide or receive childcare from one other household if you live with someone under the age of 14.
However, you must not meet socially with your childcare bubble, and must avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.
An overnight stay in a private home is not allowed unless it is a member of your bubble. Please see above the different bubbles.