Positive cases of the coronavirus are increasing every day in America, which has led many to alter their way of life to prevent exposing themselves to the virus. One effective way of combatting Covid-19 is by limiting your exposure to people and public places. But just because you’re dining at home and avoiding large crowds doesn’t mean you have to abandon your social life completely. Here’s how a ‘social bubble’ can help you stay sane and impede the communal spread of Covid-19.

What is a Social Bubble?

A social bubble is a small group of people that have agreed to only see each other. As part of a safe social contract, everyone pledges to take the same precautions and quarantine together. By limiting your social interactions to the members of your bubble, you greatly reduce the risk of exposure for the group and everyone outside of it.

Why Form a Social Bubble?

Humans are social creatures and the coronavirus pandemic has severely limited the number of social encounters we have every day. For some, the break from other people has been welcome, while others have felt heavy emotional burdens while our social ties are frayed. A lack of socialization can take a heavy toll on your mental health, but a tight social circle offers controlled exposure to an intimate group of friends or family members. Bubbles offer us a sense of normalcy and can help curb the spread of Covid-19 by removing frequent contact points for multiple people.

In addition to benefitting the people inside the bubble, there’s real value for the community outside of the bubble, too. That’s because the people inside the bubble are effectively limiting their contact with the rest of society. By doing so, they are removing themselves as potential carriers of Covid-19 and doing their part to protect the health of others by reducing their exposure to fewer people. This is particularly important when combatting asymptomatic carriers, who may freely move since they think that they don’t have the coronavirus.

How Does a Social Bubble Work?

A social bubble helps keep its members safe by instituting stricter health protocols and limiting their contact with people outside of the bubble. It helps protect society by closing off clusters of the population from larger networks, effectively limiting the speed at which Covid-19 can move through a larger group of people.

Tips for Creating Your Perfect Social Bubble

  1. Before inviting people to join your bubble, have an open conversation and clearly communicate that there are no hard feelings involved. Everyone has different personal protocols in place, and it’s ok if someone else doesn’t live up to your own protection methods – just don’t let them in your social bubble.
  2. Establish clear rules for everyone to follow. Be specific about common activities that involve exposure to other people like going to work, buying groceries, outdoor leisure activities, and visiting family members. Outline cleaning and sanitization rules to follow – the clearer and more thorough these rules are, the safer your bubble becomes.
  3. Get everyone in your social bubble to agree to follow the rules established by the group.
  4. Discuss your daily routines with your group to give everyone a complete picture of your potential exposure points. Consider altering activities that involve greater public exposure like going to the gym or buying a quick cup of coffee.
  5. Ensure that every member does their best to limit the number of people they come into contact with outside of the bubble. The more people that come in contact with your group, the less safe it becomes. If members of your social bubble must come into contact with others, then outline clear protocols for how that should take place, and emphasize social distancing, wearing a mask, and thoroughly washing hands after each encounter.
  6. Try to keep your social bubble to fewer than 10 members – the larger it is, the more difficult it is to maintain your group’s health.

Things to Consider When Creating Your Social Bubble

The most important thing to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy social bubble is trust. Everyone in your bubble must strictly adhere to the rules that have been agreed upon, otherwise the entire group’s health is at risk. Equally important to trust is clear communication – you must create a comfortable atmosphere that empowers people to talk with honesty. That way, if someone gets sick, they feel comfortable sharing their health with the other members.

If someone in your bubble does get sick, then it’s imperative that you disband and closely monitor your health and the health of the other members. If a person in your group tests positive for Covid-19, then everyone should contact their healthcare provider to discuss their exposure and inquire about getting tested for the coronavirus.

You should only rebuild your social bubble after everyone receives 2 negative Covid-19 tests or displays no symptoms of the virus for more than two weeks.