two household bubble

These are the rules for a two-household bubble and how it's working in Canada so far

As different provinces across Canada begin to slowly lift lockdown restrictions and reopen their economies, a  new concept has emerged recently to help people safely increase their contact with the outside world when the time is right: two-household bubbles.

The bubble concept isn't original to Canada. It began in New Zealand and has aided the country and others in effectively handling the spread of the virus and drastically reducing community spread.

So what exactly is a bubble, you may ask? Well, your current bubble includes anyone living in your household with whom you haven't maintained physical distancing.

Now, as the situation evolves, some provinces are introducing the two-household bubble, which is the idea that one household can choose another to interact and socialize with. 

"In an effort to reduce social isolation, especially for those living alone, your household can join up with one other household, if both households mutually agree," reads a section about two-household bubbles on New Brunswick's dedicated coronavirus webpage

"The selection made is not interchangeable. For example, a family can now go visit grandparents, while another family could bring in a babysitter.You must not have close contact with anyone else. You cannot join up with more than one household or bubble."

The concept isn't universal across Canada just yet, as some provinces such as Ontario and Quebec are still struggling with local spread of the virus.

In fact, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa told residents of the city to remain in their own household bubbles just days ago.

But other provinces, including New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, have been practicing it for a while now. 

The idea of two-household bubbles is meant to help reduce some of the social isolation being felt by people everywhere, as Chief Medical Officer of Health for Newfoundland and Labrador Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said when it was first introduced. 

"I know it's been a really hard six weeks and you have been incredibly patient. So I hope that this will help to reduce some of the social isolation that we all feel, especially those living alone," she said.

Still, it's a tricky concept since both households have to mutually agree to see each other and no one else. 

"Families have to think about who they're joining with, and make sure that they're making those decisions with the best interest of people in mind," Fitzgerald added at the time. "The fewer interactions that you can have outside of your bubble the better."

Nova Scotia's top doctor, Robert Strang, also pointed out today that there are often issues when a family is forced to choose only one other household to interact with.

He said there have been many discussions about implementing the idea, but the province may ultimately look into allowing certain types of very small gatherings instead.

So while the two-household bubble concept is being introduced and practiced in certain provinces with low case numbers, there appears to be no general consensus on whether or not it's the right way for every province to proceed in the face of a pandemic. 

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