Boris Johnson to announce Christmas rules for families, pubs and church services this week
Boris Johnson will announce new restrictions next week (Image: REUTERS)
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Boris Johnson is set to announce restrictions for the Christmas period for the whole of the UK this week.
The Prime Minister is expected to relax the rules, allowing families to meet for up to a week – reportedly from December 22 to December 28.
Under the restrictions, different households could form a social bubble and spend the festive period together.
During that period, people could also be allowed to attend church services and restaurants may be able to open for a limited period, according to Sky News.
This afternoon the PM will chair a cabinet meeting ahead of a Commons statement to announce his "Covid Winter Plan" on Monday.
Plans for coronavirus restrictions at Christmas will be announced next week
(Image: Getty Images)
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Covid winter plan: What the new tier system of restrictions could look like
Mr Johnson is expected to announce that the lockdown in England will end on December 2.
Once it ends, England will be placed under a three-tier system of regional restrictions – similar to the one which was in place before the lockdown, but with stricter measures.
A spokesman said: "It will also set out how people will be able to see their loved ones at Christmas, despite ministers being clear this will not be a normal festive period."
Downing Street also confirmed the tiers will have stricter restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.
England will return to a three-tier system when the current lockdown ends
"Everyone's efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slowed its spread and eased pressures on the NHS," a Number 10 spokesperson said.
"But the prime minister and his scientific advisors are clear the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.
"That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS."
Ministers will detail what tier each area will be placed into on Thursday and MPs are expected to be given the vote to approve the new system, as promised by Mr Johnson, in the days before it comes into force on December 2.
They are optimistic that restrictions can be gradually reduced in the run-up to spring.
Providing vaccines are approved by regulators, the plan is for the rollout to begin next month before a wider programme in the new year.
But the Prime Minister will be wary of a rebellion from backbench Tory MPs who are opposed to new restrictions.
The plans emerged as the Government announced a further 341 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 54,626.