Three families will be able to “gush” over Christmas in new relaxed restrictions announced today.
A household can gather with up to two others to celebrate the festive season indoors from December 23-27.
It comes in the afternoon, a Cobra meeting with four nations, where it was agreed to relax lockdown measures for five days during the festive period.
However, there are things you can and cannot do – even with laid back rules:
The rules apply inside the house, inside a place of worship and outside
During the period in which the social restrictions are being relaxed, the way hospitality works at the different levels will not change – meaning you won’t have to go to the pub with your expanded bubbles.
However, children whose parents are separated can move between two separate bubbles.
Social distancing will not be necessary in the Christmas bubbles, although people are advised to use restraint and judgment when trying to mingle with vulnerable friends or family members.
People over 65 in nursing homes cannot go to their families for Christmas under the new guidance.
Split households in England – like friends who share an apartment – could split up to join another household for a period of five days.
But in families with three children away from home, not all of them could return for Christmas.
However, students who return from the halls at the end of the semester automatically return to their family household and are therefore not accepted as a separate household.
A joint statement from the four UK governments said: “Towards the end of 2020 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 stop their usual celebrations in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.
“This cannot be a ‘normal’ Christmas. But as we near the festive season, we’ve worked closely to find a way for family and friends to see each other, even if it’s only for a short time, and to realize that it is both limited and careful got to. “
The statement added, “Even if this is within the rules, meeting friends and family over Christmas is personal judgment for individuals who are aware of the risks to themselves and others, especially those who are at risk.
“We all need to think carefully about what they are doing during this time to balance increased social contact with the need to minimize the risk of increased transmission of the virus.
“This is especially important when it comes to considering the vulnerable. Before we decide to get together over the Christmas season, we should consider alternative approaches like using technology or meeting outdoors.”