If you live in an area that is experiencing a local COVID-19 outbreak and where local lockdown measures have been imposed, different guidance and legislation will apply. Please consult the local lockdown restrictions guidance to see if any restrictions are in place in your area.
The government recognises how difficult it has been for people to be cut off from their family and friends in recent months. This has been necessary to help us all stay alert, control the virus and save lives.
This guidance explains how you can protect yourself and others from coronavirus when meeting people that you do not live with. At all times, its important to maintain social distancing from people you do not live with to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. You should only have close contact with people outside of your household if you are in a support bubble with them.
You should only meet people you do not live with in 3 types of groups:
- you can continue to meet in any outdoor space in a group of up to 6 people from different households
- single adult households in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only can continue to form an exclusive support bubble with one other household
- you can also meet in a group of 2 households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household), in any location ? public or private, indoors or outdoors. This does not need to be the same household each time.
It remains the case ? even inside someones home ? that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. Those who have been able to form a support bubble (which is those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in their bubble. This should be exclusive and should not change. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.
Staying alert when meeting people you do not live with
In order to keep you and your family and friends safe, it remains very important that you stay alert when meeting family and friends.
- only socialise indoors with members of up to 2 households ? this includes when dining out or going to the pub
- socialise outdoors in a group of up to 6 people from different households or up to 2 households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household)
- not hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing and avoid close social interaction even if they are organised by businesses and venues that are taking steps to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines
- only stay overnight with your household (including your support bubble) and one other household
- limit social interaction with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
- try to limit the number of people you see, especially over short periods of time, to keep you and them safe, and save lives. The more people with whom you interact, the more chances we give the virus to spread
You can also minimise the risk of spreading infection by following some key principles. You should:
- continue to follow strict social distancing guidelines when you are with anyone not in your household or your support bubble
- take hygiene precautions by washing your hands as soon as you are home for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitiser when you are out, use a tissue when sneezing and dispose of it safely, and cough into the crook of your elbow
- form a support bubble with one other household, and if you or they are in a single adult household. You should not change or add to your support bubble once formed
- access private gardens externally wherever possible if you need to go through someone elses home to do so, avoid touching surfaces and loitering
- avoid using toilets in other peoples home (outside of your support bubble) wherever possible and wipe down surfaces as frequently as possible
- using disinfectant, wipe down any surfaces or door handles people from outside of your household or support bubble come into contact with if walking through your home
- avoid sharing plates and utensils with people outside of your household or your support bubble?
- avoid using paddling pools or other garden equipment with people outside of your household or bubble
Where to meet indoors
Members of 2 different households can meet in any indoor space, including a private home. Anyone in your support bubble counts as one household.
You should, wherever possible, socially distance from people you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble and take particular care to maintain excellent hygiene washing hands and surfaces when using shared facilities like bathrooms.
Where to meet outdoors
You can meet people in both public and private outdoor spaces, such as gardens, yards or roof terraces but you should maintain social distancing at all times with people who are not in your household or support bubble. Garages, sheds or cabins are all indoor areas where the risk of transmission is as high as if you were in a small room in a house.
If you do need to use the toilet in someones home or are passing through to access someones garden, try to avoid touching surfaces and if you use the toilet wash your hands thoroughly, wipe down surfaces, use separate towels or paper towels and wash or dispose of them safely after use.
Going to a pub or restaurant with members of another household
When eating or drinking out with people you do not live with, you should only meet one other household if you are seated indoors.
If you are eating or drinking outdoors, you can do so with one other household or in a group of up to 6 people from different households. You should take care to limit your interactions with anyone outside the group you visit these places with.
In all cases, people from different households (unless in support bubbles) should ensure they socially distance as much as possible. Premises should also take reasonable steps to help you do so in line with COVID-19 secure principles.
Staying overnight with members of another household
You, and members of your household or support bubble, should only stay overnight with your household (including your support bubble) and one other household. This can be in each others homes or other accommodation, such as hotels or apartments. You should, wherever possible, socially distance from people you do not normally live with, take particular care to maintain excellent hygiene washing hands and surfaces and avoid using shared facilities like bathrooms wherever possible.
Sharing food and drink
You should try, wherever possible, not to pass each other food or drink unless you live together or are in a support bubble together. You should ensure that plates or utensils are thoroughly cleaned before use. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and use disposable towels if possible.
Using garden equipment
You should not share garden equipment with people outside of your household or your support bubble because of the risk of transmission from shared surfaces. You could bring your own equipment or if you have to use chairs, for example, you should wipe them down carefully with household cleaner before and after use.
You should try to avoid shared equipment. For example you should use your own tennis racquet, golf club or basketball. Any equipment that is used should be cleaned frequently. Cleaning should be particularly thorough if it is to be used by someone else.
You should avoid using paddling pools and private swimming pools with people outside of your household or support bubble.
The government has published guidance on how team sports can restart safely.
Sports governing bodies are developing tailored guidance outlining how their sport can be conducted safely, which will be reviewed by Public Health England. People should follow the approved guidance when playing team sports.
You are able to play team sport in any number if this is formally organised by a sports club or similar organisation and sports-governing body guidance has been issued. Where there is clear guidance in place, sports can be played in groups larger than 2 households. If you are playing one of these sports informally, such as in the park or a private garden, there should be no more than 30 people involved (including participants, coaches, umpires, spectators).
Team sports that do not have ap