CAN I EXPAND THE “BUBBLE” OF PEOPLE I INTERACT WITH CLOSELY?

It’s much safer not to, but, depending on your tolerance for risk and your need for social contact, you could consider it. The safest bubble, of course, is one that only includes you, but the people you live with are your de facto bubble-mates—meaning you get closer than six feet to one another, spend time indoors together, and break other rules that apply to interactions during a pandemic—and that’s fine.

“Part of the stay-at-home guidelines was essentially, ‘Your bubble should be your household,’” Carlton said, “and what we’re potentially shifting to is, ‘If you’re an extremely small household and really struggling with social isolation, it may be okay for you to have closer contact with a limited number of individuals.’” Restricting your bubble to just your household is still ideal, but Carlton said it’s “probably not terrible” to carefully incorporate very limited others.

Keep in mind that each person you add to your bubble brings not only their own risks, but the risks of everyone else they may be exposed to. So if you do add people to your bubble, choose them cautiously—but better to leave your bubble as is, if you can bear to.