Boris Johnson announced last night that some households will be able to form a ‘support bubble’ with another household from Saturday. He specifically mentioned single parents with children under the age of 18 as some of those who would benefit from this easing of the lockdown restrictions. But what exactly is allowed? What about those with children already spending time between two households?
The new rules
From this Saturday 13 June, a single-adult household can form a support bubble with one other household and behave as though they live together – they will be able to spend time in each other’s homes, can stay overnight and will not need to follow the two-metre rule.
One of the two households in each bubble must be a ‘single-adult household’ – either a person who lives alone or a single parent living with children under the age of 18.
The other household in the bubble can be of any size and can have more than one adult in it. A single parent could, for example, form a bubble with their own parents so that their children would be able to spend time with their grandparents and be cared for by them as if they were a member of their own household.
However, anyone shielding has been advised not to form a bubble and should keep two metres apart from all other households and avoid all social contact.
There is no limit to how far you can travel within England to meet members of your support bubble but the government recommends forming a support bubble with someone living locally.
It is not possible to swap households once a bubble has been formed.
Children spending time in both parents’ homes
A child spending time between both their parents’ homes is already a member of two households. Under the new rules, both parents can form their own support bubble with another household and the child could therefore be part of two separate bubbles made up of four different households in total.
It remains to be seen whether this may lead to disagreements between some separated parents, for example, about the identity of those within the child’s support bubbles.
"Children with separated parents are already permitted to move between both households and there is no change to that. From 13 June, it will also be permitted for those households – if there is only a single adult in them – to form a support bubble with another household."