Leaders Of Devolved Nations Agree That Three Households Can Meet For Christmas
Between 23 and 27 December, three households will be able to meet indoors.
A COBRA meeting was held this afternoon, with leaders from all four UK nations attending a meeting, chaired by Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.
The rules state that you can travel to form a bubble of three households, who don't have to social distance and can go to places of worship together. However - bubbles will not be able to gather in a hospitality setting.
Bubbles must not be changed or extended further at any point.
This means that, for example, a family can meet with two sets of grandparents, but those grandparents cannot mix with anyone else for this time.
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all currently under different restrictions, but the meeting has meant all four nations will be subject to the same rules.
The five-day exemption will supersede the tiers that will come into place on 2 December, when the national lockdown ends - so households in Tier 2 and 3 areas will still be able to meet as per the exemption.
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A joint statement released between all four nations says: "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.
"Even where it is within the rules, meeting with friends and family over Christmas will be a personal judgment for individuals to take, mindful of the risks to themselves and others, particularly those who are vulnerable."
Experts have warned that this relaxation of social distancing rules could come at a cost.
Government scientists say that there will most likely be a need for tougher restrictions to make up for temporary relaxation of rules.
Speaking to a Commons committee on Tuesday (24 November), chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh Devi Sridhar, said: "People emotionally want to hear reassuring messages.
"They wanted to hear it over the summer that there would be no second wave, and they want to hear it now that Christmas will be normal.
"I guess I have to speak bluntly: the virus doesn't care if it's Christmas. We still have pretty high prevalence across the country. It is risky for people to mix indoors with alcohol with elderly relatives at this point in time."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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