‘Christmas bubbles’ will allow three households to mix over five-day festive period
The leaders of all four nations have reached a deal to allow families to meet over Christmas, it has been announced.
Up to three households will be able to form a temporary “Christmas bubble,” over five a five-day period, and meet indoors, from December 23 to 27, allowing families to see each other in a “limited and cautious way.” The limited relaxation of the restrictions will not be repeated for the Hogmanay holiday period, it was also confirmed.
While the news will come as a great relief to many, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would urge people to continue to “err on the side of caution.” Hospitality rules must continue to be followed all all ares, and family “bubbles” must be exclusive. The decision was made at a meeting of the UK Government’s emergency committee, Cobra.
Confirming the plans, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it is clear that there is a risk inherent in any relaxation of the restrictions, and asked everyone to consider very carefully whether the opportunity to mix for a few days is necessary given the risk of spreading the virus.
She 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 we must be clear, there cannot be any further relaxation of measures for Hogmanay. Even this short relaxation will give the virus a chance to spread. Our priority is to suppress transmission of COVID-19, and reduce the risk to the vulnerable and those who have spent so long shielding — and that involves abiding by the rules. 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 approach states:
- A “bubble” should be formed household to household only (i.e. different people in a household should not pick their own bubble).
- Between December 23 and 27, people can meet in an exclusive “bubble” composed of three households.
- You should stay with your “bubble” where they are hosting you, and you should follow the travel advice for the level you are in (e.g. people being hosted in a level 3 area cannot go on an outing to a level 2 area).
- Within your “bubble”, you can gather in a home, an outdoor place or a place of worship.
- In all other settings — eg. hospitality, entertainment venues — those who have formed a bubble must only socialise with members of their own household.
- Households deciding to form a bubble will be advised to limit social contact before and after the period of relaxation.
For further information, and to keep up with the latest Scottish Government information, visit www.gov.scot