Health chiefs are today reminding Teessiders of the rules surrounding support and childcare bubbles to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
Bubbles are an essential tool to help people through the pandemic for a variety of health and wellbeing reasons.
However, misunderstanding of what is and isn't allowed could also contribute to the spread of infection.
South Tees Director of Public Health Mark Adams said: "I was pleased to hear the Health Secretary confirm some weeks ago that there were no changes planned to bubbles as they're vital to so many people.
"But it is important people only mix with those from other households when absolutely necessary and permitted by the rules.
"Any unnecessary contact, such as adults simply meeting socially with those they have formed a childcare bubble with, increases the risk more people will catch Covid.
"People should be especially mindful around older and vulnerable people and ensure they open a window so fresh air can circulate when people from two households in a support bubble are together."
As of January 22, Middlesbrough's infection rate was 478 per 100,000 of population. In Redcar and Cleveland, the rate stood at 413.
Abiding by the following rules on support and childcare bubbles is vital to protecting the NHS and saving lives.
You can form a support bubble with another household of any size if:
- You live by yourself - even if carers visit you to provide support;
- You are the only adult in your household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability;
- Your household includes a child who is under the age of one or was under that age on 2 December 2020;
- Your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5, or was under that age on 2 December 2020;
- You are aged 16 or 17 living with others of the same age and without any adults;
- You are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 or were under that age on 12 June 2020.
- You should not form a support bubble with a household that is part of another support bubble.
- If you share custody of a child with someone you do not live with, the child can move freely between both parents' households. You do not need to form a support bubble to do this.
- A support bubble is different to a childcare bubble. Being in a support bubble does not stop you from forming a childcare bubble.
- You might be able to form a childcare bubble to provide or receive childcare from one other household if you live with someone under the age of 14. However, you must not meet socially with your childcare bubble, and must avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.
For more information about bubbles, visit GOV.UK.