Christmas bubbles - but not in the traditional sense!

Christmas bubbles – but not in the traditional sense

Are you clear on the latest guidelines for seeing friends and family this Christmas?

When it comes to Christmas bubbles, we know there’s some confusion about what’s allowed and what’s not – so we asked Dr Ric from our medical partner Your Doctor, to answer your questions, and separate the Christmas facts from the festive fiction.

Q. Is it ok to meet up with as many people as we like over Christmas, as long as there’s no more than three households at a time?

A. No, this isn’t what Christmas bubbles are about. A Christmas bubble can be formed of three households maximum. You can only be in one bubble, and you can’t change your bubble. From 23rd to 27th December 2020, the law says that you can mix freely with people in your Christmas bubble - in private homes, in your garden, places of worship and in public outdoor spaces. You can’t however visit pubs, restaurants etc. with your Christmas bubble. You must not meet anyone else in a private home or garden if they are not part of your chosen three-household bubble.

Q. So I can’t see all three of my siblings and their families in person this Christmas, even if it’s on different days?

A. Sorry no – you’re going to have to choose your favourites! In all seriousness, I know it’s a really tough situation, but the rules are there to keep us all as safe as possible and balance the need for human connection with the risks of spending time together this festive season.

Q. Can I stay overnight with my bubble?

A. Yes, the guidance allows for overnight stays in the home of members of your bubble, from 23rd to 27th December. You can also stay overnight in a hotel, but this must only be with members of your own household, or by yourself.

Q. Is it ok to hug and kiss friends and relatives in my Christmas bubble?

A. The official Government guidance states that people in Christmas bubbles don’t need to observe social distancing with each other. However, Covid-19 hasn’t gone away, and my advice would still be to limit physical contact within your bubble, especially if it includes people who are vulnerable. If you want to be safe and confirm that you don’t have Covid-19, you can seek a private test before travelling to see relatives.

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Whether or not you decide to form a Christmas bubble this festive time, the greatest gift we can give to our friends and loved ones is to keep each other safe. The news about the UK’s vaccination programme has been hugely positive over the last few weeks, and as long as we all continue to take great care of each other, I am confident that there will be a lot to look forward to in 2021.

The above advice is based on the Government’s official guidance for Christmas support bubbles. You can find the full briefing here, including more detailed information about specific circumstances, such as people in existing childcare or support bubbles, people in care homes, and separated parents of children under the age of 18.