People across the UK will be able to form “Christmas bubbles” to reunited with loved ones over the festive period.
An agreement has been reached between the UK Government and devolved administrations to allow a maximum of three households to meet up between December 23 and 27.
A joint statement issued by the four UK governments said: “As 2020 draws to a close, we recognise it has been an incredibly difficult year for us all.
“We have all had to make significant sacrifices in our everyday lives, and many religious and community groups have already had to change or forgo their customary celebrations to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.
“This cannot be a ‘normal’ Christmas. But as we approach the festive period, we have been working closely together to find a way for family and friends to see each other, even if it is for a short time, and recognising that it must be both limited and cautious.”
Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing, more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout the period.
Households are not required to use all five days and are advised to keep visits to no more than one or two days if possible.
FM @NicolaSturgeon outlines easing of restrictions during Christmas period, but urges people to exercise caution.
🎄 Three households can meet during the five days from 23-27 Dec, and the travel ban will be lifted.pic.twitter.com/CNdJqR10G3
— The Nine (@BBCScotNine) November 24, 2020
Nicola Sturgeon said: “We know that for some, contact with friends and family is crucial during this time as isolation and loneliness can hit people especially hard over the Christmas period. The “bubble” approach aims to reduce this impact.
“But we must be clear, there cannot be any further relaxation of measures for Hogmanay. Even this short relaxation will give the virus a chance to spread. Our priority is to suppress transmission of COVID-19 and reduce the risk to the vulnerable and those who have spent so long shielding – and that involves abiding by the rules.
“Just because you can mix with others indoors over this time, that doesn’t mean you have to. If you choose to stick with the rules as they are, then you will be continuing the hard work to beat this virus and prevent its spread.”
What the guidance says
- a “bubble” should be formed household to household only (i.e. different people in a household should not pick their own bubble)
- between 23 and 27 December, people can meet in an exclusive “bubble” composed of three households
- you should stay with your “bubble” where they are hosting you and you should follow the travel advice for the level you are in (e.g. people being hosted in a level 3 area cannot go on an outing to a level 2 area)
- within your “bubble”, you can gather in a home, an outdoor place or a place of worship
- in all other settings – eg. hospitality, entertainment venues – those who have formed a bubble must only socialise with members of their own household
- households deciding to form a bubble will be advised to limit social contact before and after the period of relaxation
Further guidance will be issued in the coming days.
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