2020 Christmas Arrangements

Dear John,

Further to yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister and the COVID-19 Winter Plan, we have reached agreement between the UK Government and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland on arrangements for the Christmas period. Christmas is an important time of year for many people in the UK, regardless of their faith.

COVID-19 continues, however, to pose a very real and ongoing threat. It will not be possible to take full advantage of the winter holiday season and to celebrate Christmas in the normal way.

We recognise that there will be some hard choices for families and friends, and that there will be situations where it is not possible to gather in the way many usually would. In this context, we have reached agreement on a single set of UK-wide measures to help people come together with their loved ones in a way that is as safe as possible.

  • Between 23 and 27 December, up to three households will be able to join together to form an exclusive Christmas bubble.
  • Everyone can be in one bubble only, and cannot change bubble during this time period (an exemption to this is children, aged under 18, of separated parents).
  • People (e.g. nannies, cleaners, tradespeople) can continue to work in someone’s home where necessary during this period. To reduce risk, they should observe social distancing wherever possible, and where it can be avoided should not go into homes that are hosting Christmas bubbles.
  • A Christmas bubble will be able to spend time together in private homes, to attend places of worship, or meet in a public outdoor place.
  • Travel restrictions across the UK will be lifted to allow people to travel to and from their bubble. But beyond this, people should follow local restrictions in the area in which they are staying.

Even where it is within the rules, meeting with friends and family over Christmas will be a matter of personal judgement for individuals, mindful of the risks to themselves and others.

People should as much as possible reduce unnecessary social contact with those with whom they do not live in the two weeks before forming their Christmas bubble. We need everyone to think carefully about what they do during this period, balancing some increased social contact with the need to keep risk of increased virus transmission as low as possible. This is particularly important when considering those who are vulnerable and elderly.

The clinically extremely vulnerable can form part of a Christmas bubble, but this would be a personal choice and should be balanced against the increased risk of infection for those people.

Given the additional risks, visits out of care homes should only be considered for care home residents of working age, where the home is in agreement, and has completed an individual risk assessment.

Parents should continue to send their children to school and students should continue to attend college, in line with local guidance. The UK’s four Chief Medical Officers continue to advise that the best place for children and young people is in education. There is no need for children to be taken out of school early.

It is essential that everyone follows the rules applicable to where they are in the UK. In England, that means continuing to follow the local tiers that will apply from 2 December. It will be particularly important for everyone to follow the social distancing guidelines early in the new year. Historically, this period is when the NHS sees the greatest pressure on services such as Accident & Emergency, and the highest rates of bed occupancy, and this year the NHS is dealing with COVID-19 as well.

Further information and guidance can be found on gov.uk:

While this will not be a normal Christmas, we hope that this UK-wide agreement will offer hope for families and friends who have made many sacrifices over this difficult year.

With every good wish,

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and

Minister for the Cabinet Office

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8 Comments

  1. Horatio McSherry
    Posted November 25, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    John,

    The majority of us stopped listening to this cabal many months ago. Those I know who had been supportive until the beginning of these new national restrictions have now – thanks to the random Christmas restrictions – seen through the dodgy stats, scaremongering, and are going about their lives as usual (that is unless their businesses have been shut down).

    The increasingly unstable PM and the drunk-on-power Health Secretary know the game is up, which is why their threats of retaliation and the spraying about of made-up money have increased over the past few weeks.

  2. Jan Hoggarth
    Posted November 25, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I expect to be in Tier 1 from next Wednesday. This means that up to 6 people, from different households, can come into my home. From 23rd December for 5 days however, these same people can only come into my home if they are from a maximum of two other households and have chosen to be in our Christmas bubble.

    Can someone please point out to the government that this makes no sense at all.

    I would add that even in Tier 2 and 3, it is perfectly possible for people to make safe arrangements for family members to visit them, not everyone wants to have a big party on Christmas day, the rule of 6 as it is currently planned for Tier 1 would be sufficient and fair for all during the Christmas period.

    The Christmas bubble plan means that married children will only be able to visit one set of parents for the whole of the Christmas period.

    If a rule makes no sense, people will ignore it.

  3. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 25, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I would rather be able to watch the Top Gun movie “Maverick” in cinemas early in the New Year than have two other families to my house over Christmas. I have missed hospitality, gyms and cinemas during this enforced lockdown.

    Surely, if we must protect the NHS from this infection then allowing families to move round the country to share a table for Christmas is inviting trouble.

    I waited 30 years to see the Top Gun sequel, Christmas comes every year. Getting the hospitality and entertainment industry running again is much more important.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted November 25, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      I write the above in anticipation of further draconian lockdowns post Christmas in response to a manufactured spike.

      (Possible duplicate or may appear further down, sorry)

  4. DOMINIC
    Posted November 25, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    What complete bollox.

  5. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 25, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I write the above in anticipation of further draconian lockdowns post Christmas in response to a manufactured spike.

  6. Paul Cuthbertson
    Posted November 26, 2020 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    “COVID-19 continues, however, to pose a very real and ongoing threat”
    JR – Do YOU really believe all this BS?
    If so, YOU also need to take your head out of the sand. There again YOU have to follow the narrative.

  7. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 27, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Are all University Students going to be tested before they are due to go home/be collected.

    They certainly should be, and if they test positive will they have to go into isolation for 14 days, before they are allowed to go home ?

    I hope so, as that is the rule for everyone else.

    Not to test in advance of going home would in my opinion be a drastic mistake, and makes a mockery of bubble forming.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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