Lower the number of households we can meet indoors but remove distancing requirements (after cases return to low levels)

Allow every household a "budget" of other households they can meet without social distancing over a defined time period when cases fall to low levels again. Rather than allowing e.g. three households of up to eight people meeting indoors at one time with distancing, allow two households of up to five or six to do so without distancing and require a "cooling off" period of one or two weeks before the next meeting is allowed. This would allow people to hug relatives they haven't hugged in months, stay over with others for extended periods and meet other households out for activities like meals without worrying about how to adequately distance in private homes or other indoor spaces. Given what we now know about aerosol transmission, distancing in small indoor spaces during extended contact is unlikely to prevent transmission between households in any case. That is why the overall number of permitted household contacts would be reduced.

Why the contribution is important

While I have personally endeavoured to follow the rules at all times - including physical distancing when meeting other households indoors - many others wrongly interpreted the Phase 3 rules to mean they didn't have to distance with other households at all, effectively disadvantaging those who tried their best to understand and follow the guidance. Providing a household mixing budget while lowering the overall number of household contacts would both clarify the rules for those who have not been following them and allow those who have to enjoy better contact with close friends and family. This would especially be the case for families like my own whose members are scattered all over the country and can't generally meet unless staying overnight. In other words, the aim of this measure would be to trade off quantity for quality.

by frasmcm on October 06, 2020 at 11:52AM

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