Christmas Covid rules to allow three-household bubbles

People will be able to form an exclusive Christmas bubble composed of people from no more than three households Picture: S...

People will be able to form an exclusive Christmas bubble composed of people from no more than three households Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Households will be allowed to form ‘Christmas bubbles’ over the festive period as part of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions between December 23 and 27.

Social distancing will be relaxed within the bubbles – although the Prime Minister has urged caution – particularly when meeting the elderly or the vulnerable.

“We can’t afford to throw caution to the wind,” he said in a video message.

“The virus doesn’t know it’s Christmas and we must all be careful.

“I know this doesn’t equate to a normal Christmas and it won’t work for everyone. It is up to each of us to think carefully about how we use this time-limited special dispensation.”


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The bubbles will have to be exclusive over the five-day period, meaning people cannot shift from one group to another – although children whose parents are separated will be allowed to move between them.

Restrictions will prevent bubbles from going to the pub for a Christmas drink.

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People aged over 65 in care homes will not be able to join their families for Christmas.

In families where three children live away from home, they would not all be able to return for Christmas. However, university students returning from halls at the end of term would automatically form part of their family household.

Although social distancing will not be necessary, people will be advised to exercise restraint and judgment if they plan to mix with vulnerable friends or family.

What you need to know:

You can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households

You can only be in one Christmas bubble

You cannot change your Christmas bubble

You can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble

You can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces

You can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying

You cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble

You should travel to meet those in your Christmas bubble and return home between the 23 and 27 December. Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December.

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