THREE households will be able to meet up inside for five days over Christmas in a much-needed boost for the nation after a gruelling year of Covid rules.
Social distancing and travel rules will be scrapped from December 23 to 27 so Brits can hug their grannies and see their friends as part of a festive plan hammered out on Tuesday.
In a boost for the nation after months of crippling restrictions, the UK nations have secured a deal for Brits to be able to see loved ones at last – but they won’t be allowed to go to the pub together.
The details of the plan include:
- Leaders hammered out a plan to allow people to meet up for several days over the festive period from the 23rd to the 27th
- Three households will be allowed to meet up with no limits on numbers
- They will have to form an exclusive bubble and not meet others during that time
- There will be a relaxation of restrictions on overnight stays, and people will be allowed to travel freely across Tiers
- People in their ‘Christmas bubble’ will be able to go to other people’s homes, church or public spaces together – but wont be able to go to the pub or out for meals in any indoor settings
Social distancing won’t need to be kept to during the five day relaxation of the rules, but ministers will remind people to be alert of the risks of spreading the virus.
There will be some differences between the four nations of the UK, however, on what counts as a bubble and how people can split up to see family.
Cops won’t be expected to patrol to enforce the new rules – but will step in if people break them by hosting huge gatherings and hold parties.
Shortly after the announcement, Boris Johnson tweeted a video asking people to consider the risks of seeing vulnerable people even though the rules have relaxed.
The Prime Minister said: “The virus doesn’t know it’s Christmas and we must all be careful.”
Mr Johnson added: “I know this doesn’t equate to a normal Christmas and it won’t work for everyone and it is up to each of us to think carefully about how we use this special time-limited dispensation.
“The virus has not gone away and families will have to make a personal judgement about the risk of forming a bubble with or visiting elderly relatives and the vulnerable.
“Tis the season to be jolly but tis also the season to be jolly careful.”
Speaking following the meeting, Mr Gove said last night: “The UK-wide agreement reached today will offer hope for families and friends who have made many sacrifices over this difficult year.
“We know that the Christmas period this year will not be normal, but
following constructive discussions between the UK Government and the
Devolved Administrations, families and friends will now have the option to
meet up in a limited and cautious way across the UK should they wish.
“In coming to this agreement, we have listened to scientific and clinical
advice on how best to minimise the risk and reach a balanced and workable set of rules that we hope will allow people to spend time together at this important time of year.”
But British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “These plans for Christmas make a mockery of the extra restrictions being placed on pubs and the economic devastation they are facing this Christmas.
“How can it be that pubs cannot properly open while households can mix in private settings?
“The Government data has consistently shown that house-to-house transmission is one of the highest, whereas hospitality has accounted for as little as two per cent of Covid incidences when open.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had agreed to a “cautious and limited” relaxation of coronavirus rules for Christmas, but stressed there would be no further relaxation of measures at New Year — a big blow for Hogmanay-loving Scots.