SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County’s health order strictly bans social gatherings, but some doctors say there's one way to safely reconnect. And after months of staying at home, San Diego mom Diane Scavuzzo figured it out.
“The moment that you could have dinner at a restaurant that's when we started thinking of going out and seeing another couple,” said Scavuzzo.
After months of quarantine, Scavuzzo and her husband were ready to form a "quaranteam."
“We have three different couples that we've formed a social bubble with,” she said.
With this carefully picked group of friends, the couple soon began eating out, lounging at the beach and watching sunsets together.
“We've known each other for over 10 years and so we trust each other,” Scavuzzo said.
They trust that no one disrespects the rules of the COVID bubble: The first is agreeing to only have contact with your group. The second is to practice social distancing with everyone else.
“If someone were doing something not kosher, you know I’d have to drop them,” she said.
It sounds exclusive. But is it doctor-approved?
Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group Dr. Abisola Olulade said absolutely - if you're smart about it.
“We always use the term social distance when what we really mean is physical distance. Social distancing can lead to worsening depression, anxiety,” Dr. Olulade said.
But in countries like New Zealand where the concept started, people in each bubble can visit each other's homes. They don't need to social distance. And can even stay overnight.
“There's no guarantee that just because you're friends with them doesn't mean that they can't transmit it to you and it increases overall risk,” Dr. Olulade said.
Those are risks many parents with younger children would rather do without.
“I think if you have a bubble and then everyone has a bigger bubble and a bigger bubble it just chainlinks out and then you're not really as protected as you could be,” said San Diego mom Marie Kidder.
For Scavuzzo, she felt forming a "quarantine pod" was a safe way back into the world.
“Want to make sure we can have someone new to talk to that's not through a computer screen,” she said.
And what happens if someone in the bubble develops coronavirus symptoms?
The rule is everyone in the bubble must self-isolate.