What are the support bubble rules for Tier 4 and Tier 3?

MILLIONS of Brits now look set to spend Christmas under tier four and tier three Covid-19 rules.

But what are the coronavirus restrictions of those tiers and will those people be allowed to form support bubbles? Here's what you need to know.

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What is a support bubble?

A support bubble is the linking of one single-adult household and another household of any size.

A single-adult household is a household which includes just one adult – which can include young children aged under 18.

People who have formed a support-bubble together can mix freely in their households, have overnight stays and visit public places together.

An example of a support bubble would be someone who lives alone linking up with their parents, while living in separate homes.

The Government advises people should try and form bubbles within the same area.

For those with shared custody of a child, you can still form a support bubble with another household while the child can still move between homes.

But you must not change your support bubble once it has been formed.

Can you form a support bubble in Tier 4?

On December 19, the UK government announced new tier four restrictions for London, the southeast of England, and the east of England, which will last for two weeks.

It comes amid concerns that tier three restrictions have not been strong enough to suppress a new Covid-19 strain and that lifting them over Christmas would cause a spike in cases.

The limitations on meeting people will still apply over the festive period in Tier 4, meaning you will NOT be able to join or form Christmas bubbles.

But support and childcare bubbles can continue in Tier 4 areas.

Can you form a support bubble in Tier 3?

In Tier Three mixing between households is banned – but support bubbles are exempt.

The government website states: "People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space."

Bubbles will reportedly still be allowed on Christmas Day, although everyone under tier three restrictions will be advised to "stay local".

Can you form a support bubble in Tier 2?

It is fine to form a support bubble in Tier Two.

However, the Rule of Six still applies in any tier – so if your support bubble contains more than six people you should not meet all at once.

But it's fine to meet with people from your support bubble in groups of appropriate sizes.

Bubbles are again expected to be allowed on Christmas Day, although "stay local" message will still apply.

Can I form a support bubble if I have a child under one?

It has been a difficult year for everyone, but a particularly testing time for those that have welcomed a new baby and not been able to celebrate with their family.

Current rules allow households with a child under the age of one to form a support bubble.

It means grandparents have been able to see and help out with the young child.

Parents with children under the age of five that need constant care for a disability have also been able to form a support bubble with another household.

It comes as….

  • Boris Johnson today cancelled Christmas for millions as he put London, the South East and East in Tier 4 lockdown
  • The new variant strain of the virus which causes Covid-19 may be up to 70% more transmissible – and could increase the R value by 0.4
  • All Brits have been told to stay local during the festive season
  • Christmas bubbles in Tiers 1, 2 and 3 have been cut to just 24 hours on December 25
  • Non-essential shops and gyms in Tier 4 areas must be closed from midnight
  • Those in Tier 4 will be able to meet only one other person outdoors – but must not stay overnight from home

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