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Christmas lockdown rules confirmed - All you need to know

The Covid restrictions will be relaxed for five days over the festive period to allow for families to reunite.

Three households will be allowed to mix for up to five days in a plan to allow families to reunite at Christmas, it has been confirmed.

Here's all you need to know.

What are the rules?

Households will be allowed to form "Christmas bubbles" with two other households over five days from Wednesday 23rd December to Sunday 27th December.

The Christmas bubbles will have to be exclusive over the five day period, meaning that they will not be able to move from one bubble to another over that period.

Bubbles will only be able to gather in private homes, go to outdoor public spaces and attend places of worship together – but they will not be able to meet together in hospitality settings.

Children whose parents are separated will be able to move between two separate bubbles.

Social distancing will not be necessary in the Christmas bubbles, though people will be advised to exercise restraint and judgment if they plan to mix with vulnerable friends or family.

There will be no change to how hospitality operates in the various tiers over the period when social restrictions are eased.

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.”

The statement added: “Even where it is within the rules, meeting with friends and family over Christmas will be a personal judgement for individuals to take, mindful of the risks to themselves and others, particularly those who are vulnerable.

“We need everyone to think carefully about what they do during this period, balancing some increased social contact with the need to keep the risk of increased transmission of the virus as low as possible.

“This is particularly important when considering those who are vulnerable, and before deciding to come together over the festive period we urge the consideration of alternative approaches such as the use of technology or meeting outside.”

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