Meeting people

Can I meet other people indoors? 

If you live in Bolton, it is against the law to:

  • host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless they’re in your support bubble
  • meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of Bolton, unless they’re in your support bubble or childcare bubble

Your household is only the people you live with and any support bubble.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household (on an exclusive basis). Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household can provide informal (i.e. unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must occur on an exclusive basis - always the same two households.

Can I meet other people outdoors or in public venues? 

From Monday 14 September, when meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) it is against the law to meet in a group of more than 6. Children are included in the group of six.

To help to curb the spread of the virus in Bolton, we advise that you should not:

  • socialise with people you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble, in any public venue. This applies to inside and outside of Bolton. Examples of public venues include pubs, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions.
  • meet outdoors with anyone you do not live with, unless they are in your support bubble.
  • visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.

Further detail can be found in the guidance for meeting others safely, including associated exemptions.

If you operate a business or organise events within Bolton you should take steps to ensure people do not socialise with people they do not live with, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance.

Can workers visit my home?

People can still come inside your home for specific purposes, such as cleaners, formal childcare providers and repair workers.

They will follow the coronavirus guidance for their businesses. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes.

People can still come inside your home or garden for specific purposes set out in law:

  • where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
  • to attend a birth at the mother’s request
  • to visit a person who is dying (the visitor can be someone the dying person lives with, a close family member, friend or, if none of those is visiting, anyone else)
  • to fulfil a legal obligation
  • for work purposes (see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes), or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
  • for the purposes of education or training
  • for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
  • to facilitate a house move
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents.

What happens if I break the rules?

The police will be able to enforce these legal limits, and if you break them you could face a fine (fixed penalty notice) of £200, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £6,400.

The government has also introduced fines for those who hold illegal gatherings of over 30 people.

Holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people is an offence, and Police may issue fines of £10,000 to those who break the law.

Why should I not meet my friends and families? 

Across the borough, we are seeing the virus transmitted between households.

In some cases, this happens when people are showing no symptoms of the virus, so they do not realise they are passing it on.

When we meet each other in homes or outside it is far harder to observe social distancing and other measures needed to slow the spread of the virus. Businesses are required to be Covid-secure to prevent the risk of the virus being passed on, which is why you can still go to work and visit shops etc.

We understand that this is difficult for us all, but the virus has not gone away and we must continue to reduce the risk of transmission.

How do I arrange childcare?

You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies – see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes.

The following people can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens:

  • Registered childcare providers, including nannies
  • People who are in your support bubble
  • People who are in your childcare support bubble

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare.

A support bubble is where a lone adult household with one adult joins with another household (on an exclusive basis).

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household can provide informal (i.e. unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must occur on an exclusive basis - always the same two households.

We recommend that you form a support bubble or childcare support bubble with a household that lives locally wherever possible. This will help to prevent the virus spreading from an area where there might be a higher rate of infection.'

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bolton-local-restrictions?utm_source=60186361-5412-411e-b732-d5295b212788&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

Children of parents who are separated are allowed to move between households. The law includes an exemption to allow parents and children who are not part of the same household to continue an arrangement for access or contact with each other.

If you need advice about childcare please contact 01204 337220 or email families@bolton.gov.uk

What about support bubbles for adults who live alone? 

You can still form a support bubble with one other household if you live alone or are a single adult with dependent children – in other words, if you are in a household where there is only one adult.

All those in a support bubble can act as if they live in the same household – you can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart.

You can only form support bubbles with one other household – you should not switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households.

Do I have to wear a face covering in public?

You are required to wear a face covering in the following settings:

  • on public transport
  • indoor transport hubs
  • taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) (from 23 September)
  • shops and supermarkets
  • hospitality venues, such as pubs and restaurants, except when eating or drinking (from 24 September)
  • indoor shopping centres
  • banks and building societies
  • post offices
  • museums
  • galleries
  • cinemas and theatres
  • places of worship
  • public libraries

People are also strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in any other enclosed public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet.

From 23 September, you will need to wear face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles. You will also need to wear face coverings in hospitality venues, when you are not eating or drinking. From 24 September, in retail and hospitality settings, staff will be required to wear face covering as well. Please check sector specific guidance to see if this requirement applies to your workplace.

You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • children under 11
  • because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • to communicate with someone who relies on lip reading
  • to avoid harm or injury; to identify yourself
  • to eat or drink if necessary

You can carry something that says you do not have to wear a face covering for medical reasons. This is a personal choice, and is not necessary in law – you should not routinely be required to produce any written evidence to justify the fact you are not wearing a face covering.

Relevant guidance on face coverings is available here

Universities and higher education

You can move home and travel in order to attend or work at a university or higher educational establishment including to and from Bolton.

You should follow all relevant university and higher educational guidance if you attend, work at or manage higher education establishments, including universities and associated accommodation.

There are support services within your university or higher education establishment to help you should you need advice or support.

Students are expected to follow the latest guidance on social contact and meeting with others safely in their local area whilst attending university, and should not leave their university accommodation to go home in the event of an outbreak or restrictions being applied in a local area.

Students moving to Bolton can find support on the University of Bolton website.

The national rule of six applies in Bolton but the council is also advising people not meet others they don’t live with or are in a support bubble with.

You also:

  • must not meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas, unless they’re in your support bubble
  • should not host people you do not live with in your student halls, unless they’re in your support bubble
  • should not meet people you do not live with in their student halls, whether inside or outside of the affected areas unless they’re in your support bubble

If you are a student from Bolton going to study in the rest of the country you need to follow any restrictions in the area to which you move.

Moving home

People can move home. Estate and letting agents, and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Further information

If you have a question or would like further information please email covidenquiries@bolton.gov.uk