How to decide who to choose for your COVID-19 double bubble in Canada
Ah, double bubble: an addicting brand of pink bubblegum, and now, a catchy name in Canada for when two households join together to form a single quarantine unit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also known as a "quarantine bubble," these bubbles consist of a single household that can start hanging out with another household, so long as they do so safely and only with each other.
British Columbia is also allowing residents to interact with up to six new people this month, and it may not be long before other provinces do the same.
But the question is, who do you pick?
Did you pick your •BUBBLE FAM• Yet?— Virgin Radio Halifax (@VirginRadioHali) May 19, 2020
Was it hard to choose or did you just know!?😂 pic.twitter.com/tk1VH0Byjc
Canadians are left in a tricky position. Do you pick the grandparents that haven't seen the children in a few months? If so, which set of them? What about your Aunt Sally? Will she be offended if you don't include her in the bubble?
Or do you make the riskiest choice of all: snubbing your family members in favour of that new guy you started seeing on Tinder six months ago?
This whole “pick your bubble” thing is equivalent to getting assigned only 1 partner for a project in school and you gotta start looking around the room to see who’s worth sticking with— picture boy (@natebrunt) May 17, 2020
Basically, choosing who to add to your double bubble is kind of like choosing which family and friends to invite for Thanksgiving, only the table is half the size and you may not be able to get rid of them after six hours.
Fortunately, health experts have offered some advice on the matter.
According to psychologist Dr. Irene S. Levine, the key is to make sure that you're picking people that you trust not to break the bubble.
"You'll want to develop a social contract with the other family. Agree on the rules," she told the New York Times. "Discuss your attitude toward risks and the way you go about your lives. Figure out what to do if someone breaks the rules."
You might love your best friend, but if they consider a picnic in Trinity Bellwoods park a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon, you may want to steer clear.
To celebrate the start of BC's phase 2 COVID response we went to our double bubble family's for dinner. On the way, my six-year old greeted a neighbour and told him, "we picked one other family and we get to play with them today because Bonnie Henry said it was ok" Felt good.— Elise Velaz (@EliseVelaz9) May 20, 2020
You may also want to think twice before adding any vulnerable friends or family members to your double bubble, according to Craig Janes, director of the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo.
That includes senior citizens, people with underlying medical conditions, and any Canadians that are generally more susceptible to suffer serious health conditions if they contract the virus.
"If I bring my grandparents into my home and things reopen, so I go back to work, it will increase the risk for those in the home," Janes told Global News. "The disease is spread from person to person, so the more you increase the number of contacts, the risk goes up."
Alas, no. I am a senior with underlying conditions and continue to take precautions. I would hug my niece if I could. She has been getting my groceries and meds since mid-March.— Joan Thornley (@thornley_joan) May 19, 2020
Finally, you'll want to consider who you can risk offending.
According to social worker Gary Direnfeld, you should ask yourself, "If, in choosing this family to live with, does it have a negative repercussion for my relationship with that family?"
If you want to see your family but it means that your roommate might blow their top, then it could be worth abstaining.
The main points? When choosing who you want to double bubble with, make sure that they're trustworthy, in good health, and that choosing them won't lead to any awkward conversations down the line.
And when in doubt, remember that the quarantine bubble is temporary; eventually, we'll be able to hug all of our family and friends once more.
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