I woke up this morning to discover that I and the three other members of my household are still under Covid-19 Tier 2 restrictions. As Christmas, a period of socialising, is close, I decided to refresh my understanding of the Meeting Family and Friends section of these rules. The BBC offers the following definitions:
- You are not allowed to socialise with anyone from outside your household or support bubble indoors, either in a private home or a public place.
- You can socialise in groups of up to six people outdoors – either in private gardens or public places.
- Support bubbles can be formed between one household and another which contains only one adult – with some exceptions.
- Children can continue to move between homes if their parents are separated.
Rule 1, let me call it the Indoors Rule, is confusing. Am I not allowed to socialise with anyone outside my household in either a private home or public place – period? Presumably, that does not include my own private home but what if I visit my local supermarket? If I ask a member of staff a where-can-I find-it? question about a product, is that classed as socialising? I guess the answer is no if the staff member is neither family nor friend!
Similarly, am I not allowed to socialise with anyone in my support bubble indoors in either a private home or public place? What exactly is a support bubble indoors, and what if a member of my support bubble indoors lives in another household? It’s the indoors that throws me. Is it being used as a noun, and adjective, or an adverb?
Maybe the Indoors Rule is better written as:
You are not allowed to socialise with anyone from outside your household or support bubble, either in a private home or a public place.
That would make more sense but, better still, I think the Indoors Rule means this:
You are not allowed to socialise in another private home or any public place with anyone from outside your household or support bubble.
If this is the intention, it now makes sense to me. At this point, I turned to the source of these rules – the UK government’s website. Here’s how the Indoor Rule is explained:
You can only meet socially with friends and family indoors who you either:
– live with
– have formed a support bubble with
unless a legal exemption applies.
‘Indoors’ means any indoor setting, including:
– private homes
– other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants
Okay, now I understand. I just wish the BBC staff writer had taken more care when paraphrasing the Indoor Rule. The last thing we want right now is confusion as to the exact meaning of the rules.
Bert and Mavis – essential workers
For more Bert and Mavis cartoons, visit Bert and Mavis – The First Fifty Cartoons