Three places you can go with your Christmas bubble – with the pub banned
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Millions of families across Britain will be able to meet up outdoors, in churches and in private homes over the Christmas period.
The UK Government and devolved administrations have agreed a temporary easing of measures will allow three households to mix in a bubble from December 23 to 27.
Social distancing will be relaxed within the bubbles, giving people the chance to hug friends and family for the first time in months.
However, the new guidance does not allow bubbles to meet up for a pint at their local pub during the festive period.
So despite staying over at your parents' house on December 23, you won't be able to go to the pub for a pint with them on Christmas Eve.
Three different households will be able to meet up during the Christmas period
(Image: Getty Images/Juice Images RF)
Three households allowed to celebrate Christmas together under new UK rules
Christmas bubble coronavirus rules in full – what you can and can’t do
Bubbles will be allowed to meet in private homes, in church and in outdoors public spaces.
The bubbles will have to be exclusive over the five-day period, meaning people cannot shift from one group to another – although children whose parents are separated will be allowed to move between them.
People aged over 65 in care homes will not be able to join their families for Christmas.
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 form part of their family household.
Although social distancing will not be necessary, people will be advised to exercise restraint and judgment if they plan to mix with vulnerable friends or family.
The second lockdown has seen pubs in England shuttered again
The measures could see families and friends travelling across the UK on a transport network with limited capacity due to social distancing and Christmas engineering works.
A joint statement issued by the four UK governments said: "As 2020 draws to a close, we recognise it has been an incredibly difficult year for us all.
"We have all had to make significant sacrifices in our everyday lives, and many religious and community groups have already had to change or forgo their customary celebrations to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.
"This cannot be a 'normal' Christmas. But as we approach the festive period, we have been working closely together to find a way for family and friends to see each other, even if it is for a short time, and recognising that it must be both limited and cautious."
You cannot visit the pub with your Christmas bubble
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "We know that for some, contact with friends and family is crucial during this time as isolation and loneliness can hit people especially hard over the Christmas period. The 'bubble' approach aims to reduce this impact."
But she warned there would be no further easing of measures for Hogmanay and "even this short relaxation will give the virus a chance to spread".
She added: "Just because you can mix with others indoors over this time, that doesn't mean you have to.
"If you choose to stick with the rules as they are, then you will be continuing the hard work to beat this virus and prevent its spread."
The plan was agreed following a Cobra meeting chaired by Michael Gove bringing together the Westminster Government and the devolved administrations.
Cabinet Office Minister Mr Gove said the deal would "offer hope for families and friends who have made many sacrifices over this difficult year".
"In coming to this agreement, we have listened to scientific and clinical advice on how best to minimise the risk and reach a balanced and workable set of rules that we hope will allow people to spend time together at this important time of year," he said.