CEMA Safety Series: Tips to protect yourself and others from COVID-19


Defining your 'bubble'

As the “Friends” television show theme song goes, “I’ll be there for you, ‘cause you’re there for me too”.

During these times, who is there for you - and who can you stay close during COVID-19, without getting yourself or other people sick?

Let’s talk about ‘the bubble’.

The best way to keep yourself safe is to create an agreement with your closest friends or family to stick together and create a cohort. If you need more social interaction, members of a household can partner with other households to create a larger cohort, obviously the smaller the better but this can include up to an additional 15 people. The key to a cohort is to practice physical distancing and when that’s impossible wear a mask when you are around people outside your cohort. If someone in your bubble gets sick or tests positive, you must monitor closely for symptoms and be prepared to isolate yourself.

“Your cohort is your safe zone, where you can relax and let down your guard a bit in this battle against COVID. Your cohort can do fun things like a potluck dinner, ordering take out or even visiting a restaurant patio. You want to be very confident that people in your bubble are committed to staying healthy, because you are trusting them with your health and wellness. In more extreme cases of COVID you may be trusting them with your life, especially if you are elderly or have any medical vulnerabilities.” Says Tom Sampson, Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

Cohorts are all about limiting your risk.

With respect to people (from outside your cohort) who want to come by for a visit, it is best to set the ground rules before they come. Lines like “hey we would love to have a quick visit outside on the deck where we can physically space out, we won’t be serving any food, were taking this COVID thing seriously, but I can certainly provide you a cold beverage.” Think of the five P’s that can cause a challenge for you…People in Prolonged, Poorly ventilated, Protection free, Proximity.

Sitting outdoors, going to an outdoor patio or restaurant or doing an outdoor activity like hiking or snowshoeing are all ok but you should be careful to take separate vehicles and avoid any indoor close contact with anyone not in your bubble.

Learn more about cohort families on

For general information visit