The short answer to that is no, you could never cancel Christmas nor the Christmas spirit and feelings of goodwill it evokes, however Christmas 2020 will be a Christmas like no other. With Coronavirus still ravaging the United Kingdom, measures are in place to help stop the spread of the disease over the festive period.
The UK Government had initially made arrangements for a 5 day ‘Christmas Break’, where Coronavirus restrictions would be slightly relaxed so as to allow families to spend time with each other, something which has been sorely lacking for many.
However, due to the rising cases nationwide and the spread of a mutated strain of Coronavirus – thought to be up to 70% more infectious than the more common version – spreading across London and the South East, these plans were abruptly cancelled on December 19th, just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference in which he promised there would be no such U-turn.
So, let’s try this again. What are the rules in place for Christmas now? In an updated version of a previous blog
published at the end of November, we will take a look at how ‘Christmas 2020 2.0’ will pan out across the UK.
The UK’s second national lockdown ended on Wednesday 2nd December, after which the country went back into the tier system which was beginning to be enforced when the lockdown began at the end of October.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the public that the restrictions would be more strictly enforced than the previous tier system, and also that Tier 3 would be more widespread than it was in the first instance, where few places in the UK such as Liverpool and Manchester were put into Tier 3.
To quote the UK Government website
: the plan was that over a five day period between December 23rd and 27th, “Travel restrictions across the four administrations and between tiers will be lifted to provide a window for households to come together. Up to three households can form an exclusive ‘bubble’ to meet at home during this period. When a bubble is formed it is fixed, and must not be changed or extended further at any point.”
However, on Saturday December 19th, various changes to these rules were made. Firstly, the new strain of the virus meant that in London and the South East – where it is most prevalent – a new ‘Tier 4’ was put in place. This is equivalent to national lockdown rules, thus meaning that Christmas was effectively ‘cancelled’ for that area of the country.
Outside Tier 4, you are still allowed to mix with 2 other ‘bubbles’, however this can now only take place on Christmas Day itself, and not December 23rd to 27th as had been planned.
It goes without saying, this has changed many people’s Christmas plans at the 11th hour. However, most would argue that ultimately it was the right thing to do. People were always going to see family and friends around Christmas, however the new rules have now limited this to just one day in tiers 1-3 and stopped this completely in tier 4. While some people will not comply, throughout the lockdown most in the UK have, and this should help prevent the spread around Christmas.
Although Christmas has not been cancelled, we know Christmas may not look like the one you had planned; hopefully the sacrifices we make now will help shape Christmas in 2021. Also, with a vaccine on the way, we can all cross our fingers and really hope this is the last Christmas of this type in our lifetimes.
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