Coronavirus rules are easing in Melbourne to allow singles who live alone, or with children, to nominate a bubble buddy for lockdown.
The exemption comes into effect from Monday, which means the clock is ticking for people to pick their Stage 4 friend.
Just like picking teams during PE at school, no one wants to be the last person standing.
Choosing your bubble bro is a big decision, and it’s important to get it right.
That’s according to a new study by a group of Austrian researchers from Danube University.
After surveying more than 1000 Austrians after lockdown, the researchers found people in unsatisfying relationships were almost three times more likely to experience depression or anxiety than those people who were happy with their partners.
People who reported being satisfied in their partnership showed better mental health than both people in unhappy relationships, and singles.
“The lockdown is a challenge, especially for those with poor relationship quality,” the study’s authors wrote.
“(Our study) underlines the fact that not only but especially in times like this, the choice of partner should be carefully considered.”
So how do you navigate the tricky landscape of choosing a bubble bro?
It’s a difficult conundrum.
The partner can be another single friend, someone coupled up, or with housemates.
You are allowed to travel outside your five kilometre radius to visit them, too.
Unlike intimate partners, however, bubble buddies must wear a face mask at all times.
They must also be home by curfew, which will be shortened by one hour to 9pm from Monday.
But here’s the clincher: If your partner lives in a share house, their housemates must clear out of the house before you come over.
During Stage 4 lockdown, options for outings are extremely limited.
Aside from the supermarket or pharmacy, where are they going to go?
From Monday, playgrounds will reopen and exercise time will be extended to two hours, split over a maximum of two sessions, so perhaps your buddy’s housemates could go to a nearby park.
Either way, it’s a tough sell.
Meanwhile, the situation for singles in regional Victoria is looking much brighter.
From Monday, several restrictions will be eased, with potential for cafes and restaurants to reopen as early as this week if case numbers remain low.