Your questions about new Christmas Covid travel answered

New rules announced by the PM mean Christmas will look different for millions of Britons Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has announced new coronavirus rules for millions of people across England. There are more questions than answers so we've tried to answer some of the biggest areas of interest.

I have a Christmas holiday booked overseas. Can I fly? 

Travelling abroad is now banned. People throughout England are advised to “stay local” and avoid overseas travel, while those in Tier 4 will only be able to go abroad for essential business. 

I’ve bought train tickets to travel at Christmas. Can I get a refund? 

It’s unclear, but Which? consumer rights expert Adam French said: “These new restrictions will cause massive travel disruption and chaos, leaving many peoples’ festive plans in tatters. 

“If you’ve forked out on money for a train ticket and have to stay put you should be able to cancel the trip and get your money back. 

“Rail operators should be as accommodating as possible by allowing passengers the flexibility to use tickets or issuing them refunds if they can’t travel at another time.” 

What exactly are the new Tier 4 rules?

From 00.01 on Sunday, tougher restrictions will be introduced in an effort to drive down infections, as the government urges people to stay at home - with changes to the previously announced relaxation of rules over the Christmas period. We're written a full explainer of Tier 4 rules here.Can I travel to work? 

You should work from home. Where you cannot, you are still able to travel to work 

 If I’m in Tier 4 can I stay overnight somewhere else? 

Under the new “stay at home” order – covering around a third of the population of England – people in Tier 4 will be told they should not stay away from home overnight and people from outside will be advised not to visit Tier 4 areas. 

In Tier 4, people should not mix with anyone outside their own household, although support bubbles will remain in place. 

In Tiers 1-3 in England the rules allowing a maximum of three households to mix will be restricted to Christmas Day only. 

People in tier 4 have been urged not to travel outside their local area. Credit: PA

Who is exempt from the rules? 

Exemptions to the “stay at home” message which applied in the November lockdown, will also apply in the new Tier 4 – including support bubbles, childcare bubbles and children whose parents are separated. 

People will be allowed to travel for education, childcare and to go to work if they cannot work from home and they will be permitted unlimited outdoor exercise. 

Can I see my grandparents at Christmas?

Prof Whitty reiterated that people should “keep it small, keep it short, keep it local and remember the vulnerable are vulnerable” over Christmas.

He advised people should minimise contact with grandparents, keeping it at a distance and for the “shortest period you can”.

Prof Whitty added: “Because what you really want is to get to the point when your grandmother has been vaccinated, ideally when you and people around you have been vaccinated, taking the risk right down. At that point we’re in a different place.

Sir Patrick, Boris Johnson and Prof Whitty painted a grim picture of the new variant. Credit: PA

“But at this point in time, at this really, really critical and dangerous time – pre-vaccine but high transmission – I repeat it: keep it small, keep it short, keep it local and remember the vulnerable.

“And short should mean as short as you can manage with a reasonable social interaction.”

What do we know about the new variant of coronavirus?

Sir Patrick Vallance said that the new coronavirus variant may have originated in the UK, but that other types of variants around the world were likely.