What Tier 4 means for support bubbles – the latest rules explained as Greater Manchester restrictions change

After another change to coronavirus lockdown rules, we’re all trying to get used to what Tier 4 means in practice.

Falling just short of a national lockdown, Tier 4 restrictions aim to limit the amount of contact between people to stop the spread of the virus.

People are being told to stay at home, unless for valid reasons including work or education.

We also have to limit the amount of social contact with family and friends.

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In Tier 4, people in a support bubble are still allowed to meet.

Support bubbles were introduced previously to try and reduce loneliness and support single people.

They involve the mixing of two separate households.

Even in Tier 4, people in the same bubble can socialise in each others homes without social distancing.

But people are only allowed to be in a support bubble with one other household.

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Support bubbles can be changed, but the previous support bubble have to be treated as a separate household for 10 days before the change.

There are also separate childcare bubbles, which people are allowed to have in addition to a support bubble.

This is again the linking of two households, to provide ‘informal’ care to a child under the age of 14.

Informal meaning care that is not being paid for.

Rules state that people must avoid seeing members of their support bubble and childcare bubble at the same time.

If you can tolerate the cold weather, people are allowed to meet one other person not in their support bubble in a public outdoor place, such as a park.

The advice is to remain two metres away from those not in their support bubble.

It is not permitted for people to meet in private gardens with people not in their support bubble.

There are a limited number of circumstances when people can still meet in larger groups.

These include for work, education, to fulfil a legal obligation such as jury service, to facilitate moving house or to visit someone who is dying.

Funerals can still take place, with a maximum of 30 people able to attend.

A maximum of six people are allowed to attend weddings.

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