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What are the rules around support bubbles in Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions?

In short, support bubbles and childcare bubbles will continue to be permitted in Tier 2 and 3.  A more detailed explanation is outlined below. 

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one

adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of

any size.

Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single

household with people from the other household.

People in a support bubble can have close contact when they visit each other, stay

overnight, and visit public places together.

Once you make a support bubble, you should not change who is in your bubble.

Government guidance advises people to follow social distancing guidelines with people outside of your home or support bubble, adding that this is “critical” in keeping you, your family and friends safe.

It adds that support bubbles should be formed with households who live locally, where possible, to prevent the potential transmission of the virus between different areas.

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household.

This can include people in your support bubble and registered childcare providers, such as nannies, and people in your childcare bubble.

Government guidance states that each childcare bubble must always be between the same two households.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare, according to official guidance.

In tier two areas, social mixing between households is prohibited indoors, but those in support bubbles can continue to mix in private homes and in indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants. Childcare bubbles can also continue.

However, the Rule of Six means that people can still meet in groups of up to six people outside such as in private gardens and public places.

In tier three areas, social mixing between households is prohibited both indoors and outdoors in any setting, such as private homes, pubs, restaurant or private garden, but support bubbles and childcare bubbles are allowed to continue.

The Rule of Six will only apply in certain outdoor settings, such as parks, beaches, allotments, public gardens, and playgrounds.

Pubs and bars in high risk areas can only remain open if operating as a restaurant by serving “substantial” meals, such as a main lunch dish or evening meal. Alcohol can only be served as part of such a meal.

The Government has also advised people not to travel in and out of high risk areas and for those residing in tier three regions to stay local.

If you have any questions that are specific to your circumstances then please use the form at the top of the Covid-19 FAQs page