FAMILIES will be reunited for up to five days over Christmas after ministers from across the UK agreed to relax coronavirus restrictions.
Up to three households will be allowed to mix from December 23 to 27 in a broad set of UK-wide measures, Government sources confirm.
Speaking after a meeting of the four governments, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said: “This has been a very long and difficult year for everyone. All our lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everyone has done so much to help control the spread of the virus and to save lives. But that has meant many sacrifices, including not seeing family and close friends. We are all looking forward to Christmas and a chance to spend some time with all those we hold dear.
“Today, I met the First Ministers of Scotland and Northern Ireland and Michael Gove, from the UK Government, and I’m pleased we were able to agree a common four-nation plan for the festive period.”
Government’s from across the UK have agreed on the below measures:
• Travel restrictions across the four administrations and between tiers will be lifted to provide a window for households to come together between the 23rd and 27th of December.
• 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.
• Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing, more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout this period.
In a joint statement issued by the four UK Governments, it was acknowledged that “this cannot be a ‘normal’ Christmas”.
The spokesman said: “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.
“Even where it is within the rules, meeting with friends and family over Christmas will be a personal judgement for individuals to take, mindful of the risks to themselves and others, particularly those who are vulnerable.
“We need everyone to think carefully about what they do during this period, balancing some increased social contact with the need to keep the risk of increased transmission of the virus as low as possible.
“This is particularly important when considering those who are vulnerable, and before deciding to come together over the festive period we urge the consideration of alternative approaches such as the use of technology or meeting outside.
“In this context, the four administrations 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.”