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Christmas is saved! Festive bubbles will let households mix for 5 days over Xmas period

CHRISTMAS has been saved this year with households allowed to "bubble up" for five days to enjoy the festivities together.

Families will have to choose their social bubble in advance and will be able to spend time indoors with them – including at the pub.

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It is understood a limited number of households will be allowed to meet under the plans.

But this is yet to be signed off by the government, which is still trying to thrash out agreement with leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The ban on household mixing will likely be lifted for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day through to the Bank Holiday on December 28.

Once the merriment is over, Brits will then return to tough tier restrictions being announced by Boris Johnson tomorrow.

What Brits can do this Christmas:

  • It is believed a limited number of households will be able to meet up indoors including at the pub
  • This effectively scraps the rule of six over the five-day period
  • The relaxed rules will likely come in on Christmas Eve through to the Bank Holiday on December 28
  • All four UK governments are working on a plan that will allow Brits to travel to meet family
  • Social bubbles will have to be announced in advance and social distancing is still in place – so hugs are still banned

But Brits will have to stick to social distancing guidelines still – meaning they will not be able to hug loved ones.

As The Sun revealed last week, strict lockdown rules will be paused for five days for Christmas.

It comes after fears Brits would simply ignore the rules – with Met chief Dame Cressida Dick saying cops have "other things to do" than barge in on Christmas lunches.

The festive reprieve has been confirmed today by ministers after negotiations between all four devolved governments.

Michael Gove said there would be “limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days”.

A statement from the Cabinet Office said: "Ministers reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real.

“As such, Ministers endorsed a shared objective of facilitating some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days, but also emphasised that the public will be advised to remain cautious, and that wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact.”

However, a Scottish Government spokesman said: "No agreement has been reached and discussions are continuing."

The proposed new rules Boris will announce tomorrow:

  • Tougher three-tier lockdown rules to be revealed as part of Boris' Covid Winter Plan
  • He will announce the plans tomorrow in an address to the nation
  • The 10pm curfew will be scrapped and pubs and restaurants will now close at 11pm
  • People could be banned from seeing their families and friends until Easter under Tier 2 and 3 rules
  • Brits will be given special 'freedom passes' to live normal lives if they have two negative Covid tests a week
  • Beauty salons, gyms and hairdressers are set to reopen on December 2
  • All shops – even in the toughest tiers – will remain open when lockdown ends
  • Kids' team sports could return from next month in a boost for grassroots games
  • The new rules are set to be suspended for up to five days over Christmas so families can meet indoors

As part of other Christmas plans, beauty salons, gyms and hairdressers are also expected to open for a "morale boost".

And the government is also in discussions about how it might allow some pantomimes to go ahead during the festive period.

It comes ahead of Boris unveiling his winter Covid plan to the Commons tomorrow, which will include the re-introduction of the tier system once lockdown lifts next month.

Under the ramped-up Tier 2 and 3 rules, millions of Brits will be banned from mixing with other households indoors.

Tier 2 – which covered large swathes of the country before lockdown – is expected to be beefed up to be more in line with the previous tier 3.

It's understood pubs will only be allowed to serve booze alongside a “substantial meal” and punters will only be able to dine with people they live with indoors.

Pubs in Tier 3 face even more stringent measures to reopen. It's expected they will be allowed to operate only on a click and collect basis with no seating inside. 

It means that aside from the five-day Christmas break, Brits will effectively be in lockdown via tiers until Easter when "normal life" will hopefully resume.

In one positive step, Boris is said to be calling time on the controversial 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.

He instead plans to extend opening hours until 11pm – with the hope this will stop revellers congregating in crowds on the streets.

Earlier this week, Public Health England boss Dr Susan Hopkins said Christmas "is possible" but warned it could come at a price.

She said harder measures could be needed before and after Christmas to make up for the five days of festive freedom.

Dr Hopkins said: "We are keen to have Christmas as close to normal as possible, but that will require every effort now and in early December to get cases as low as possible to reduce transmission."

And Chancellor Rishi Sunak has reiterated that Christmas this year "is not going to be normal".

He added: "I think it's difficult to be so precise and granular about the impact of any individual measure that we might take.

"I think the good news is we're going to be exiting national restrictions, which is something that I think people at the beginning of this were doubtful of.

"The Prime Minister will be setting out more details tomorrow about going back to a more localised approach, seeing what we can do to allow families to see each other at Christmas time.

"But it is not going to be normal."


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