Brits told to avoid socialising for two weeks before and after joining Christmas Covid bubble

BRITS will be asked to avoid socialising for two weeks before and after Christmas in order to get the five-day bubble break.

The Government request was slipped into the bubble guidance, telling people to steer clear of extra meet ups for two weeks before and after the festive freedom.

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It is not an official order but is billed as what should be done to keep the family and friend bubble system as safe as possible.

This effectively means Brits have been asked to avoid celebrating New Year's Eve or doing anything festive with pals in the run up to Christmas.

However this would have been tricky anyway depending what Tier you live in and while sticking to the Rule of Six.

The Government is allowed three households to come together for five days over Christmas.

The relaxing of the strict rules Britain has been living under for months comes as a huge relief.

From December 23 to 27 bubbles of unlimited size – from three households – can come together and celebrate the festive period.

Overnight stays are permitted and social distancing does not have to be adhered to – but it is recommend to still keep as much space between people as possible and keep washing those hands.

Government advice says: "In the two weeks that follow your last meeting with your Christmas bubble, you should reduce your contact with people you do not live with as much as possible.

"Children can continue to go to school.

What can you do in your bubbles?

Can my gran and grandad join us for Christmas?

Yes.

Any three households can join together to form a Christmas bubble – so granny and grandad can come round for the Turkey dinner.

But the government is urging Brits to show common sense and caution when interacting with very vulnerable people in their festive bubble.

Can I hug them or should we be socially distant?

While you can hug granny because social distancing rules are scrapped in festive bubbles, you should show caution, particularly if they are old or sick.

Can my grandparent leave a care home to join us?

If granny or grandad is in a care home and over 65, they cannot leave to join your new bubble.

They can if they are under 65 and get a negative Covid test.

What happens if we burst the bubble and the step-mum arrives unexpectedly?

This is against the rules. When three households come together to form a Christmas bubble it is exclusive – you cannot leave it and no one else can join it.

But if step-mum arrives, do not expect the cops to turn up at your door. Ministers are urging Brits to voluntarily abide by the rules – they are not expecting police to enforce them.

Is there a maximum number of people allowed in my Christmas bubble?

No, it’s just based on a maximum of three households. 

How should I travel to see my Christmas bubble?

You will be able to travel across all tiers and across all four home nations but the Government is urging people to plan and book journeys in advance, with major disruption and capacity problems expected on the railways. 

Can I see people outside of my bubble?

Yes – but only if you stick to the rules in your tier.

For Brits living in Tier 2 and 3 – which is expected to be the vast majority of the country – this means you can only meet up with people outdoors.

In Tier 1 you can meet up with people if you stick to the rule of six.

Can I go to the pub with my Christmas bubble?

No – you can only meet up with them in private homes, at Church or in a public space, such as a walk in the park.

You can go to the pub in tier 1 with up to six others inside. In tier 2 you can only go with your household inside, or up to six people outside.

In Tier 3 they will be closed.

What about New Year’s?

These bubbles do not apply to New Year’s, which will be governed by the regional tiers policy. 

Can my household split up and form different bubbles?

Yes, a mum and dad could decide to spend Christmas separately by forming their own Christmas bubbles.

This also applies to a group of people in their 20s who share a flat but can all return to their family homes, for example. But this may only apply in England.

"You can go to work if you cannot work from home, but you should avoid unnecessary social interaction. Any increase in contact with other people increases the risk you will catch or spread coronavirus."

It also recommends unnecessary contact with people outside your bubble should be reduced in the two weeks before Christmas bubbles are formed.

Up to three different households will be able to meet up inside for five days over Christmas to form a new bubble – with no maximum of people

Once a bubble is formed it cannot be changed.

Shared households in England – such as friends sharing a flat, or a couple who wanted to see different parents – would be able to split up to join another household for the five-day period.

But they won't be able to do this in Scotland – possibly splitting up millions of families.

In England, university students returning from halls at the end of term would automatically rejoin their family household and therefore not be included as a separate household.

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.

 

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