Christmas saved as bubbles let households mix over festive period, Government confirms

Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will start in8CancelPlay now

Join the Secret Elves to discover the best shopping deals and things to do this Christmas

Spread the Christmas cheer!When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. OurPrivacy Noticeexplains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid Email

Christmas has been saved with more than two households allowed to 'bubble up' and enjoy the festivities together – for up to five days.

Ministers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have endorsed a shared objective of allowing "some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days" over Christmas, the Cabinet Office has said.

But following a meeting on Saturday, they "reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real".

Families will have to choose their bubble in advance and will be allowed to spend time indoors with them – including at the pub, according to reports.

What do you think about this story? Let us know in the comments below

Coronavirus plans for Christmas should be formalised next week
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Read More
Related Articles


  • Search for fishermen missing after boat sank near Sussex coast called off

Read More
Related Articles


  • City rammed as shoppers queue for Christmas bargains after Welsh firebreak lockdown

While it is confirmed that the four governments of the UK have agreed to allow extra bubbling over the festive period, further details are yet to be agreed.

More information is expected next week as families begin to put together their Christmas plans. 

Cabinet minister Michael Gove said there would be “limited additional household bubbling for a small number days”.

The full statement from the Cabinet Office says: "Ministers reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real.

"As such, Ministers endorsed a shared objective of facilitating some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days, but also emphasised that the public will be advised to remain cautious, and that wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact."

They added: "In respect of Northern Ireland, Ministers also recognised that people will want to see family and friends across the island of Ireland, and this is the subject of discussions with the Irish Government."

The four governments of the UK have agreed to allow extra bubbling (stock photo)

Up to four households will be allowed to meet but that is yet to be confirmed, reports The Sun.

The ban on household mixing will likely be lifted for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day through to the delayed Boxing Day Bank Holiday on the 28 December.

The Government is also in discussions about how it might allow some pantomimes to go ahead during the festive period.

Today the UK death toll increased by 398 – although officials blamed a data error for the spike (it compares to an increase of 198 last Sunday).

On the Covid-19 UK dashboard there is a warning that "due to a processing update, 141 previously published deaths within 28 days in England were excluded from the published data on 21 November.

"This issue has now been corrected for data published on 22 November, which includes deaths omitted yesterday in today’s total."

The UK total is now 55,024.

The England lockdown is set to be lifted on December 2 – but will be replaced by a refreshed, tougher tier system based on infection rates.

The three-tier system of Covid-19 restrictions will have to be strengthened to get the country through the winter months, a senior health official warned.

Christmas may not be normal this year – but it won't be ruined
(Image: Getty Images)

The system, introduced last month, saw areas put into different categories labelled medium, high or very high risk, with the medium level also referred to as Tier 1, high as Tier 2 and very high as Tier 3.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government hopes the national lockdown will be replaced on December 2 with a tiered system "similar to what we had before".

But Dr Susan Hopkins, an epidemiologist, said Tier 1 coronavirus restrictions had "little effect", while the impact of Tier 2 varied in different places.

In Northern Ireland shoppers have been urged to stay safe and follow the regulations in the days before a tougher raft of restrictions come into force.

A strict circuit-break will see non-essential retail, the hospitality sector and close-contact services closed for two weeks.

The strict clampdown, which is close to the severity of March's lockdown with the exception that schools will remain open, will come into effect next Friday.

Retail NI said it is expecting a surge of shoppers in the coming days.

"We would urge shoppers to stay safe and follow the Executive guidance," Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said.

You may also like...