BRITS in care homes over the age of 65 will be banned from joining their families during the five-day Christmas lockdown holiday.
It comes as the government unveiled new guidance allowing people to bubble up with two other households over the festive period between December 23 and 27.
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Under the new rules, shared households in England – such as friends sharing a flat – would be able to split up to join another household for the five-day period from December 23 to 27.
But 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 rejoin their family household and therefore not be included as a separate household.
The details of the plan include:
- 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
- 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 church or public spaces together – but wont be able to go to the pub or out for meals together
While three households can meet over the five-day Christmas break, the relaxation of the rules does not include hospitality venues including restaurants and bars.
However, people will be able to gather with their bubbles in private homes and also attend places of worship together.
Social distancing rules will also be scrapped between households in festive bubbles.
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.
Speaking following the meeting, cabinet secretary Michael Gove said this evening: “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."
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also urged people to "look very carefully" at how they will go home for Christmas – and even consider not travelling.
It comes as cases have been steadily falling this week during lockdown with 11,299 more positive infections reported today and over 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.
It means Brits will be banned from household mixing indoors until the festive bubble break announced tonight.
In Tier 2, people will be unable to see other households inside, and can't drink at the pub without having a substantial meal either.
But gyms, beauty salons and shops are set to reopen across all three tiers.
Unveiling his Covid winter plan yesterday, Boris Johnson told the nation that "more regions will fall into higher tiers than before" – meaning that the majority of Brits are expected to be banned from socialising indoors until the Spring.
He told the Commons: “We expect that more regions will fall at least temporarily into higher regions than before.
“By using these tougher tiers and rapid turnaround tests, it should be possible for areas to move down the tiering scale.”
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