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New rules on mixing at Christmas


The government has scrapped plans to relax Covid rules at Christmas for London and much of south-east England, where tier four restrictions will now apply.

In other regions of England, including Harrogate district – in tiers one to three – Christmas bubbles will now only be allowed on 25 December.  Harrogate district, for now, remains in tier 2.

How many households can meet at Christmas?

In England’s tier four areas, residents will only be allowed to celebrate Christmas with members of their own household and support bubbles. They will not be allowed to travel to other tiers to see family and friends.

In areas in tiers one, two and three Christmas bubbles will no longer be across five days. 

Instead, three households coming together will now only be allowed on Christmas Day. 

People in these tiers are also being asked to stay local. They will not be allowed to host people who live in a tier four area.

What are Christmas bubbles allowed to do?

Bubbles can meet each other: 

  • In each other’s homes
  • At a place of worship
  • In an outdoor public space or garden

In England, the government advises people to avoid travelling to other areas and only to stay overnight with someone else if absolutely necessary.

You cannot go to the pub with members of your Christmas bubble.

In England, if you have formed a support bubble with another household, that counts as one household.  

People who are self-isolating should not join a Christmas bubble. If someone tests positive, or develops coronavirus symptoms up to 48 hours after the Christmas bubble last met, everyone has to self-isolate.

Can all my children come home for Christmas?

Under-18s whose parents live apart can join two Christmas bubbles, so they can see both parents without being counted as part of another household.

University students who travel home will be counted as part of their family household straight away.

But if a family has three or more grown-up children not at university, they cannot all form a Christmas bubble with their parents, even in areas where mixing is still possible.



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