Really? The holidays? It's mid September, Halloween is more than a month away. Why are we talking about the holidays?
Well, it's good to be prepared. With the holidays approaching and the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight, a little planning can go a long way. To prevent transmission of COVID-19, it is best to limit contact with people outside of your immediate household. In order to include more people into your circle of trusted contacts, you can establish a bubble.
What Is a Bubble?
A bubble is a group of people of different households that have agreed on specific conditions and procedures to ensure they do not contract COVID-19. This way, these people from different households can interact with each other without restrictions like wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance and be sure that they will not spread the disease to each other.
The most prominent (and frankly, extreme) example of a bubble, is the NBA. When the NBA resumed its season in Orlando, it created a bubble in Walt Disney World resorts and entertainment centers. After players returned to training with their teams in mid June and verified to be free of COVID-19, all players and staff entered the bubble at Walt Disney World starting on July 7. Each person isolated after arrival until they tested negative twice, at least 24 hours apart. Once inside the bubble and tested negative, players and staff can intermingle with others inside the bubble. Anyone who enters the bubble has to go through the same isolation and testing procedures before being able to have contact with others in the bubble.
So How Can You Make Your Own Bubble?
The NBA bubble is quite strict, everyone in the bubble has to be in the designated zone. That's not entirely possible for many (if not all) people. We recommend only forming one bubble; if you want to form more than one, we recommend using the same conditions and procedures with each bubble.
1. Determine Who Will Be in the Bubble
Have a discussion with your friends and family who will be in the bubble. To err on the safe side, include people by households and not individuals. That way, every person in each household follows the same rules and procedures for disease prevention. You won't have to worry about a housemate or family member who goes off and does their own thing while everybody else sticks to the bubble rules.
2. Establish Rules and Procedures
Make sure that all bubble participants (households, really) agree to follow the same set of rules and procedures. Here are a sample of rules and procedure you can implement in your bubble:
If allowed by local jurisdiction or provided by your medical provider, everyone in the bubble should get tested for COVID-19. If possible, testing should be done periodically.
Initial isolation period of 14 days after the bubble is formed and for anybody who wants to enter the bubble.
Establish where bubble participants can go and what they can do (e.g., grocery stores - yes, dining in - no, dentists - yes, haircuts - no, workout in gym - no, jog outdoors - yes, airplane travel - no, hotel stay - yes).
Establish rules for face coverings (e.g., what kind to use, when to wear it)
What to do if someone in the bubble is infected and how to allow that household to reenter the bubble.
3. Follow the Bubble's Rules and Procedures
This is the most important part of the bubble. The bubble does not work unless ALL PARTICIPANTS follow EVERY RULE AND PROCEDURE of the bubble. Full transparency is needed to ensure everyone in the bubble knows what is going on, especially if a bubble participant contracts COVID-19. It will take time to get through the initial hurdles of testing and isolation but once those are completed, it will take great effort to maintain the precautions for disease transmission.
Creating the bubble will provide you and your family the chance to get together and enjoy the holiday season together.