Will lockdown rules be lifted on Christmas Day?

3 weeks ago 5

ENGLAND is under a tier system of regulations to try to beat the coronavirus with some areas facing a lockdown over the Christmas period.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs in September the new lockdown measures could last for six months meaning they would be in force well beyond Christmas.

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Many are wondering whether they will be able to spend Christmas with their families this year

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Many are wondering whether they will be able to spend Christmas with their families this yearCredit: Getty - Contributor

Will lockdown rules be lifted on Christmas Day?

The new curbs could continue well beyond Christmas and New Year unless the situation gets better.

However Mr Johnson did not confirm whether the rules would be lifted on Christmas Day.

David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC), said officers will investigate reports of rule-breaking over the festive season.

Will the 'rule of six' be lifted for Christmas?

The new measures have been introduced to lower the number of people meeting in groups and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Under the rule of six, you must not meet in a group of more than six people, indoors or outdoors - with some exemptions including weddings (15 people) and funerals (30 people).

In Scotland, it is not allowed to visit other people's homes, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on September 22.

In Northern Ireland, no households are allowed to mix indoors and no more than six people from two households can meet outdoors.

Wales is currently in a 17-day 'firebreak' lockdown with severe restrictions in place in an attempt to get the coronavirus under control.

A source told The Sun on Sunday the rule of six could be lifted on Christmas Day to allow families to spend time together.

The insider said: “The PM is anxious to avoid being portrayed as Scrooge.

“He’s fully aware that millions of people are making big sacrifices to defeat this virus and is considering ways to allow them to experience the joy of Christmas for at last part of the holiday season.”

However, this was not confirmed by the Prime Minister on September 22 as he announced the new restrictions.

Boris Johnson warned the restrictions could be in place for at least six months

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Boris Johnson warned the restrictions could be in place for at least six monthsCredit: HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR

Where are local lockdowns in the UK?

England

England has a tier system in place with different areas placed in varying levels - 1 to 3.

In tier 3 are Warrington, South Yorkshire, Liverpool City region, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

The city of Nottingham, and the Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe areas of Nottinghamshire, will enter Tier 3 at 12.01am on Thursday, October 29.

In tier 2 are London, Essex, Derbyshire, Elmbridge, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, the North East, Tees Valley, West Midlands and Leicester.

All other areas are tier 1.

Wales

All of Wales is currently under a 17-day 'firebreak' lockdown.

This will last until November 9.

People will be told to stay at home and pubs, restaurants, hotels and non-essential shops must shut.

Scotland

Guidance on restrictions is in place for all of Scotland with an exception for the central belt where extra rules are in place.

Northern Ireland

People in Ballymena town, the Belfast council area and certain Northern Irish postcodes are not allowed to go to mix between households.

It is not confirmed whether the rules will be lifted on Christmas Day

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It is not confirmed whether the rules will be lifted on Christmas DayCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Can I leave or enter an area to visit people?

No, you are not permitted to visit someone in their home, either inside or outside in a restricted area.

You also can't visit someone's home or garden from an area in local lockdown even if the area they live in is unaffected.

These include children as well as adults.

Can I see my family and friends over Christmas?

If the rule of six is still in place on Christmas Day, you will be able to meet as long as there are not more than six people in your group.

This will be subject to regional restrictions as well, as the rule of six is not the same all over the UK.

However, Mr Johnson said the rules could change in coming weeks and months if the UK makes progress in the battle against Covid-19.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove previously said if we maintain “a degree of restraint and self-discipline and co-operation” we’ll all be able to have a “proper Christmas”.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said families may have to stay in touch over Zoom.

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Can I form a support bubble over Christmas?

Anyone who lives alone can form a support bubble with another household - of any size.

A support bubble is defined by the government as "a close support network between one household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size".

Any lone parent with kids under 18 is classed as single and is eligible to be in a support bubble.

And single parents with kids can form a bubble with another house too - so they can stay overnight, help with childcare or provide much needed support.

It means grandparents living on their own can see their grandchildren for example.

Pubs in England currently have to close at 10pm

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Pubs in England currently have to close at 10pmCredit: AFP or licensors

Can I go to the pub over Christmas?

At the minute yes.

But pubs, bars and restaurants will have to close by 10pm if restrictions aren't lifted.

Venues will only be able to offer table service and you must be following the rule of six - which means you can only get together up with five other people, including children.

Can I go out for dinner over Christmas?

You will be able to go out for dinner if stricter restrictions aren't brought into place but as with pubs, restaurants will most likely have to close at 10pm.

This means you will probably have to go out earlier in order to have dinner before the curfew comes in.

And just like pubs, anyone sitting down for dinner or visiting a hospitality venue will have to fill out NHS track and trace forms so if there's an outbreak you can be contacted.

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Can I have people over to my home after the pub?

Yes. Michael Gove said as long as you follow the rule of six, there is nothing stopping boozers heading back to friends homes to continue drinking after the curfew.

When asked about after-curfew drinking in homes, Mr Gove said: "It is the case that with the rule of six you can have six people in a social gathering.

"Yes (people can keep drinking in homes) but the steps that we're taking here reflects some of the evidence that has been gathered from those parts of the country where these restrictions have already been put in place."

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned most new cases of Covid have been contracted in homes.

And Mr Johnson has warned everyone has to be careful with social distancing or face stricter lockdown measures.

Will I be able to go to sports matches over Christmas?

Most likely not.

Plans to return spectators to sports venues by October 1 have been sidelined for now.

Mr Gove said: "It was the case that we were looking at a staged programme of more people returning.

"It wasn't going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans. We're looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme.

"But what we do want to do is to make sure is that as and when circumstances allow get more people back.

"It is the case that we need to be cautious at the moment. A mass reopening would not be appropriate at the moment. We do need to proceed with caution."

Can my wedding go ahead over Christmas?

Yes it can but sadly the number of guests allowed at weddings has been halved from 30 to 15.

Couples who had hoped to get wed this Christmas have been dealt another blow.

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Mr Johnson said the rules had to be tightened again.

Can I go on holiday or visit a second home?

Yes, however, you should not go on holiday in England with people you do not live with in a group larger than six people.

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