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UK residents have been warned to continue to be cautious of the risk of spreading coronavirus over the Christmas period when restrictions are relaxed.

Over the period of December 23rd to the 27th, up to three households will be permitted to stay together and form a “Christmas bubble”.  However, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson along with leaders of the other Devolved Administrations issued a joint statement saying "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.

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."

Travel restrictions between tiers and levels and the nations of the United Kingdom will be lifted allowing people to visit family members and friends in any part of the country.

According to the guidance, once a bubble is formed, it cannot be changed or extended.

The guidance says a bubble of three households would be able to stay overnight at each other's home but would not be able to visit indoor venues away from their home such as pubs, restaurants, theatres or retail settings.

Published guidance for England gives further details of the rules for 23 to 27 December:

  • Up to three households will be allowed to stay together and form a "Christmas bubble"
  • You can form a different Christmas bubble from the people you live with normally - so you can choose to stay with different people for the five-day period
  • You can meet people outside your Christmas bubble, but only outside the home and in line with the rules for the tier in which you are staying. Places you can meet those people include parks, beaches, open countryside, public gardens, allotments and playgrounds
  • Children under the age of 18 whose parents do not live together may be part of both parents' Christmas bubbles
  • Existing support bubbles count as one household towards the three household limit
  • If a care home resident is able to leave their home, they can form a bubble with one other household - but should not form a three-household bubble. However, visits out of care homes should only be considered for residents of working age because of the risks
  • Students are considered to be part of the household to which they have returned

The guidance also advises people to take precautions when meeting their Christmas bubble such as washing hands frequently and opening windows to clear potential virus particles.