Exact details on what families can do with new relaxed Christmas rules

Three families will be able to ‘bubble up’ over Christmas into new, relaxed restrictions announced today.

A household can get together with up to two others from December 23-27 to celebrate the holidays indoors.

It comes in the afternoon, a Cobra rally with four countries agreed to ease lockdown measures for five days during the festive season.

However, there are things you can and cannot do, even with relaxed rules:

  • Rules apply indoors, in a place of worship, and outdoors

  • There will be no change in the way hospitality works on the different levels as the social constraints are relaxed – meaning you won’t go to the pub with your expanded bubbly.

  • However, children whose parents are separated can move between two separate bubbles.

  • Social distance will not be necessary in the Christmas bubbles, although people will be advised to exercise restraint and judgment if they plan on hanging out with vulnerable friends or family.

  • People older than 65 in care homes cannot participate with their families for Christmas under the new supervision.

  • Shared households in England – such as friends sharing a flat – could split up for five days to join another household.

  • But in families where three children do not live at home, not all would be able to return for Christmas.

  • However, college students who return from their school at the end of the school year automatically rejoin their family household and are therefore not included as a separate household.

A joint statement by the four UK governments stated: “As 2020 draws to a close, we recognize that it has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us.

“We have all had to make significant sacrifices in our daily lives, and many religious and community groups have already had to change or give up their usual celebrations to slow the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.

“This cannot be a ‘normal’ Christmas. But as the festive season approaches, we’ve worked closely together to find a way for family and friends to see each other, even if only for a short time, and recognize that it needs to be both limited and careful. “

The statement added, “Even if it’s within the rules, a meeting with friends and family over Christmas will be a personal judgment that individuals should take, aware of the risks to themselves and others, especially those who are vulnerable.

“We need everyone to think hard about what they are doing during this time, striking a balance between increased social contact and the need to minimize the risk of increased transmission of the virus.

“This is especially important when looking at those who are vulnerable, and before deciding to get together during the festive season, we urge you to consider alternative approaches, such as using technology or meeting outdoors.”