How is Covid-19 going to affect Christmas this year?
Determined to save Christmas, the Prime Minister introduced a second national lockdown after Britain’s infections increased and Tier 3 restrictions across much of England failed to stem the spread.
Restrictions are set to last a month before the UK transitions back into the regional three-tiered system.
The Prime Minister said: “Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different. but it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together.”
So larger families will have to rethink their family festivities. Best to put that seventh and eighth dinner setting away as your guest list is bound to be capped at six people. There is an exception for larger households which already have more than six family members.
Depending on what tier you find yourself in, the same applies for festive dinners and parties. If you plan to enjoy a Christmas meal at a pub or restaurant, it is forbidden to have more than five friends at the table at any given time and more than two families mixing indoors and outdoors. Higher tiers are not allowed to mix with other households indoors at all, including in restaurants.
These rules will likely apply across England to all ages, and include not just private homes, but also parks, pubs, restaurants and sporting events.
Read more: Tiered restrictions.
Will we be in lockdown at Christmas?
Perhaps. The Government plans to return to tiered restrictions, but the national lockdown could be extended beyond December 2, according to Cabinet Minister Michael Gove.
Mr Gove told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on November 1 that over the month the Government would review the data, adding that he hoped the reinfection rate would be “significantly reduced” by December 2.
But asked if the national lockdown could be extended, he replied: “Yes.”
Read more: Best advent calendars for Christmas 2020
Will there be Covid rules for over Christmas?
Christmas-specific rules have not been announced by the Government but if lockdown is lifted on December 2, families will have to comply with the rules under the three-tier system.
Can I still meet other households and see my family at Christmas?
Based on the restrictions introduced by the Government for each of the three tiers, overnight stays for families outside of the area they reside in can be banned depending on the tier. People will not be forbidden to enter an area for an overnight stay if they live outside.
You can still meet other households and see your family at Christmas, as long as the ‘rule of six’, social distancing, mask-wearing and hand washing guidelines are adhered to at all times in private gardens. However only a maximum of two households and support bubbles can mix.
Read more: Christmas gift guide – best ideas for 2020
Can I travel abroad over Christmas?
Christmas holidays are not necessarily off the cards. It just depends on where you want to go.
Travel corridors and travel restrictions are continuously reassessed based on rise in cases and R rates amongst other factors. Whilst the official guidance discourages all non-essential travel, you may still be allowed to travel internationally – as long as you are aware of the risks.
The ‘green’ list of travel corridor countries, which Britons can visit without needing to self-isolate upon return, is shrinking – which means you may be out of pocket if your trip is cancelled due to new lockdown restrictions.
Travelling against official government advice is not illegal, but most tour operators will not offer trips to destinations which the Foreign Office (FCO) deems unsafe. In a pandemic, that’s just about everywhere – and it does make travel insurance complicated.
If you choose to visit a country to which the FCO advises against travel without invalidating your insurance – here’s what you need to know.
What will Christmas be like during coronavirus?
It’s hard to tell, but it certainly won’t be what we’re used to. With social distancing, the ‘rule of six’ and numerous questions marks in the weeks (and months) ahead, smaller family gatherings will most likely have to take centre stage.
Christmas on Zoom for big families? We shouldn’t rule it out.
What we do know – you can expect a face mask and hand sanitiser under the tree.