People who live in different places can form an “extended household” in the following circumstances:
People who live alone
If you are an adult and you live alone, or if all others in your household are under 18, you, any children who live with you, and the members of one other household (of any size) can agree to form an ‘extended household’. This will allow people who live alone (or those living only with children under the age of 18) to be considered part of another household in order to reduce loneliness, isolation and to provide mutual social support.
Couples who do not live together
If two adults are in a relationship and they do not live together, they, and any children they each live with, can agree to form an ‘extended household’.
However, if one member of a household gets coronavirus, there is a strong likelihood that other members of that household will also catch it. For this reason, there are some important rules that extended households should follow to remain as safe as possible:
- a household must not form an extended household with more than one other household
- households can end the arrangement at any time, but should not then form an extended household with a new household for at least a 14-day period.
All the adults living in both households should agree to form the extended household. We also encourage parents or guardians to involve their children in discussions. Forming an extended household is an important decision that should be properly discussed and agreed beforehand. Physical distancing between members of an extended household is not required.
Once two households have agreed to form an extended household, they may meet outdoors or indoors, visit and stay at each other’s homes, and do everything that people in other households can do, such as watch TV, share a meal and look after each other’s children.
Members of an extended household are considered to be one household for the legal requirements on meeting other households and going outside, and for the guidance in this document about seeing friends and family and about exercise and leisure activity.
If someone in the extended household develops COVID-19 symptoms, to avoid spreading the virus all members of the extended household must isolate immediately if they met the symptomatic person at any time between 2 days before and up to 10 days after their symptoms started.
If the symptomatic person tests positive, all members of their direct household must isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms. Similarly, other members of the extended household must isolate for 10 days from when the most recent contact took place. Isolate means staying in your own home for the full 10 days.
Read more: Test and Protect: self-solation guidance
Those at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (including people over 70, people who are pregnant and people with an underlying medical condition) may take part in an extended household arrangement, but should strictly follow the handwashing, surface cleaning and respiratory hygiene guidance on the NHS Inform website.