Government announces changes to Christmas bubble guidance

Published: 19 December 2020

Council House at night

Christmas regulations will be tightened following growing case numbers

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that there will a tightening of plans to relax Christmas regulations, including no forming of bubbles in newly named ‘Tier 4’ areas and only allowing mixing in lower tier areas on Christmas Day.

Prior to the change, an eased set of restrictions were in place for the 23 – 27 December, allowing for up to three households to mix indoors and outdoors, regardless of the tier level of the local area.

Under the new Christmas rules, Tier 1, 2 and 3 areas are only permitted to form a bubble on Christmas Day, rather than the full festive period. Those living in areas placed in Tier 4 will not be able to travel or visit other households on 25 December and will be subject to rules similar to that of the national ‘lockdown’ restrictions.

Currently, Derby and Derbyshire remain under Tier 3 restrictions. This means that previous measures remain in place, and on Christmas Day up to three households are permitted to mix if they are in the local Derbyshire area.

London and the South East are among the areas that have been placed into Tier 4. This change has been informed, in part, by growing concerns surrounding a new variant of COVID circulating.

The strain is not thought to be any more severe but does appear to spread more easily, leading to a surge in cases.

In lower tier areas, families are still urged to consider the risks involved with potentially mixing households, particularly if they include vulnerable individuals.

Dr Robyn Dewis, Director of Public Health, Derby City Council, said:

We have all had to make numerous sacrifices this year, and unfortunately Christmas cannot be an exception.

While Derby citizens are still technically able to mix within a bubble in the local area on Christmas Day, we should really consider whether this is a good option given the circumstances. The virus is still in high transmission in the city, and mixing households puts us and others at greater risk of catching COVID and potentially becoming seriously ill.

If we do decide to mix households, we should, if possible, meet outside rather than indoors. If we are not able to, we should ventilate rooms by opening windows and doors and remember to continue with our simple, vital actions of keeping our distance and washing our hands.

Dr Robyn Dewis has issued advice on things to consider ahead of Christmas and ways to keep ourselves and our families safer if we do decide to form a bubble.

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