Social bubbles: Bay Area residents plan small gatherings amid COVID-19 pandemic

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- You've seen the circles that San Francisco is creating in public spaces to create social distance.

But now there's a call to expand your own "circles" and allow limited social gatherings involving small groups of friends or relatives - forming so-called "social bubbles."

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Oakland's Laura Waddell and her husband brought their 3-year-old son Major out to Lake Merritt to kick the soccer ball around this Memorial holiday weekend.

Waddell says, if done safely, allowing small groups of friends to hang out could be a good thing.

"We are open to that possibility. I think we feel like a lot of people are starting to do that," said Waddell. "They've sheltered in place for eight or nine weeks and now they're starting to feel like a bubble as people call it, right, is starting to feel appropriate."

People have different names for these small groups - cohorts, squads, bubbles. But it comes down to reconnecting with people in your life and experts say that's good for your mental health.

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However, experts say when such gatherings are allowed there will have to be rules. The groups must be small - preferably no more than five relatives or friends. There must be social distancing, and meeting up with people outside your group is discouraged.

Tommy Busch of Oakland can't meet with his buddy Gareth at the pub right now, so they hang out - properly distanced of course - at Lake Merritt these days.

Busch plans to attend a Sunday Memorial holiday gathering.

"I'm going to go to Vallejo to hang out with about five other people. We are going to be in a backyard so we'll be social distancing to a degree," he said.

Keep in mind, and we can't stress this enough, that bubble or no bubble, health officials would still rather you stayed home at this point.

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