The brutal choice facing (some) families under new Christmas COVID rules

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2-min read

Watch: UK governments unveil Covid-19 Christmas plans

It was the Christmas news we’ve all been waiting for.

On Tuesday evening, the four UK governments confirmed they had agreed a coronavirus strategy that will allow families to reunite between 23 and 27 December.

But some families will be facing a brutal choice.

The temporary easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow three households to mix in a festive bubble.

It means that for families in which three or more children live away from home, not all would be able to reunite for Christmas.

General view of a largely empty Burlington Arcade, in London, as most shops and businesses remain closed whilst England continues a four week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Some families face a brutal choice this Christmas. (PA)

That leaves the awkward prospect of these families having to decide who misses out.

However, there is an exception for university students returning from halls of residence at the end of term. They would automatically rejoin their family household and therefore are not included as a separate household.

Meanwhile, the guidance also says people aged over 65 in care homes will not be able to join their families.

The four governments have agreed the “three households” approach despite concerns about the spread of COVID, some of which have been raised by Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) members who advise Boris Johnson’s government.

But a joint statement by the four administrations acknowledged the “significant sacrifices” people have made in 2020.

It read: “As 2020 draws to a close, we recognise it has been an incredibly difficult year for us all.

“We have all had to make significant sacrifices in our everyday lives, and many religious and community groups have already had to change or forgo their customary celebrations to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

Read more: Matt Hancock: COVID needs to change ‘British way of soldiering on with flu and making everyone ill’

“This cannot be a ‘normal’ Christmas. But as we approach the festive period, we have been working closely together to find a way for family and friends to see each other, even if it is for a short time, and recognising that it must be both limited and cautious.”

Under the rules, each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing and more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout the period.

Will your family have to decide if someone misses out? Get in touch:

Watch: What will be allowed in the new tier system?

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