Christmas bubble plan – Social distancing SCRAPPED so we can hug grannies and see mates – but not in pub


SOCIAL distancing rules will be scrapped for five days at Christmas so Brits can hug their grannies and see their friends as part of a festive plan hammered out today.

In a huge festive boost for the nation after months of crippling restrictions, the UK nations have secured deal to save the holidays – which includes a five-day travel window for Brits to be able to see loved ones at last.

For the latest news on Govt’s talks today on plans for Christmas , read our live blog

Three households will be allowed to meet at Christmas in a deal which will see social distancing scrapped
Gove coordinated leaders this afternoon

Sturgeon said the rules could differ slightly in Scotland

As first revealed by HOAR last week, leaders hammered out a plan to allow people to meet up for several days over the festive period – likely the 23th or 24th to the 27th or 28th.

Three households are expected to be allowed to meet up – and will have to form an exclusive bubble and not meet others.

Sage scientists have been modelling the impact of groups bigger than six meeting up, HOAR revealed last week.

It’s not yet clear whether there will be an overall limit on the number of people who can mix – and whether kids will count or not.

In Wales and Scotland kids under 12 don’t count in the Rule of Six, but they do in England.

It’s also expected that there will be a relaxation of restrictions on overnight stays, and people will be allowed to travel freely.

At the moment in England and Scotland people face restrictions on travelling out of their area – and some aren’t allowed to stay overnight.

The plan is being hammered out this afternoon.


But Nicola Sturgeon said earlier that the rules may differ for Scotland.

She said this afternoon: “I will take part in a Cobra meeting later today where it is hoped that we will agree a common framework – albeit that some details, for example on the precise definition of household – might differ to reflect the different circumstances in each nation.

“I know everyone has a desire to see loved ones over the festive period. However there is also a very real and legitimate anxiety that doing so could put those we love at risk, set back our progress as a country and result in unnecessary deaths and suffering.”

It could mean that people in Scotland may be allowed to have different numbers of people round for Christmas dinner than in England – which would spark uproar across the nation.


Meanwhile, Wales might have to enter a similar system to England’s tiers before and after Christmas to keep cases down, Mark Drakeford warned today.

The Welsh First Minister said today: “I have been making the case in the meetings we have had with the other nations of the United Kingdom for a broadly aligned approach, not just for the narrow period of Christmas but in the run-up to Christmas and in the post-Christmas period.”

Already the relaxation of the lockdown rules after their fire-break has led to an change in their figures, he warned.

The Welsh Government Cabinet will meet regularly “to see whether there are further measures” that need to be introduced.


Ministers have come up with a last-ditch bid to save Christmas

Ministers have come up with a last-ditch bid to save Christmas which they hope Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will sign off

It’s likely that whatever plan is agreed, extra rules will be needed in the run up to Christmas and afterwards to control the impact of allowing families to mix.

Although cases have been steadily falling this week, 11,299 more positive cases were reported today, along with more than 600 deaths.

Britain will go into a tier system next Wednesday after the national lockdown in England ends.

More places are expected to be put into the top level – Tier 3 – which will see pubs, restaurants and indoor entertainment shut.

People will be banned from household mixing until Christmas.

In Tier 2 they will also be unable to see other households inside, and can’t drink at the pub without having a substantial meal either.

Gyms, beauty salons and shops are set to reopen.

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