What the NSW government 'friends bubble' means for your kids

© Getty Teens and kids will be able to meet with friends at home under NSW’s

Children and teenagers in New South Wales will get some much-needed relief from the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic with the state government announcing a “friend bubble”.

The bubble, which comes into effect from noon today, will permit home visits between friends under 18 – in select circumstances.

Here’s how it will work.

How many friends can be in the bubble?

Each child under 18 is allowed to have two designated friends come to their house.

The trio must remain the same, to make sure the three-person “bubble” remains tight.

The friends must also live within 5km of one another, or in the same LGA.

Can anybody under 18 have friends over?

The new relaxation of rules applies to kids and teens living under stay-at-home orders, but includes LGAs of concern.

Additionally, all adults in the homes of all three bubble members must be fully vaccinated.

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What can you do in the “friends bubble”?

The NSW government has said the visits can be for “play and activity” – including the possibility of HSC study for older teens.

But they are not a reason for adults to socialise under the cover of their kids.

If parents or carers are dropping the under-18s off, they must not stay to interact with the adults of the host residence.

Do the 12-17-year-olds in the bubble need to be vaccinated?

As stated in the government’s announcement, only the over-18s in the bubble homes need to have had a full vaccination course.

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Why is this happening now?

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state’s strong vaccination rate allowed the government to make the change.

“Parents and children have had a difficult few months, trying to balance both work, often from home, as well as home schooling,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This change will hopefully make a big difference for families during the school holidays and allow young children and teenagers to catch up and reconnect with their friends.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the new rules balanced COVID-19 safety with the mental health and wellbeing of under-18s.

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