Guidance about COVID-19 Christmas rules

9th December 2020

Over the festive period the government is changing some social contact restrictions, which mean that you’ll be able to be with your friends and family over Christmas.


What rules apply and when?

  • From 2 December to 23 December, you must follow the guidance for the tier in your area. Devon is currently in Tier 2.
  • From 23 December to 27 December, the special Christmas bubble rules will apply (see below for more details)
  • From 28 December, you must follow the guidance for the tier in your area. The special Christmas bubble rules will no longer apply.


Christmas bubbles

Full guidance on Christmas bubbles is available on the government website.

Key info

Between 23 and 27 December, you may choose to form a Christmas bubble, which can consist of up to three households.

If you do form a Christmas bubble, you’ll be allowed to spend time together in private homes (including second homes and caravans), to attend places of worship, or meet in a public outdoor place.

In all other settings, including pubs and restaurants, you should follow the local restrictions for the tier where you are meeting.

You can only be in one Christmas bubble, and you can’t change your bubble once you’ve created one. That means that you shouldn’t meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble.

You can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble. You should travel to meet those in your Christmas bubble and return home between the 23 and 27 December. Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December.

For the two before and after you form a Christmas bubble, you should try to reduce your contact with people you do not live with as much as possible.

You must not form a Christmas bubble if you are self-isolating.

If you don’t form a Christmas bubble, you should continue to follow the guidance for the tier you are in.

Further guidance

Please be aware that Christmas bubbles are different to support bubbles and childcare bubbles.

If you’re in an existing support bubble, this counts as one household towards the three household limit. This means that if you’re in a support bubble, you can collectively form a Christmas bubble with two other households.

You can continue to use a childcare bubbles, but only where there are no reasonable alternatives. If you want to meet socially with the other household in your childcare bubble, you should include them in your Christmas bubble. You and the other household in your childcare bubble would count as two households towards the three household limit for Christmas bubbles.

You’re allowed to form a different Christmas bubble from the people you live with normally. If you do this, you yourself will count as one household. This means if you stay somewhere else for the Christmas period, it will count as two households – you and the household you’re staying with. You’ll then be able to bubble with one other household. You should check the guidance on households where everybody is not in the same Christmas bubble.

If you’re a student and moved home for the university holidays, you are considered to be part of the household to which you have returned. You’re not treated as part of your term-time household for this period.

Any children under 18 whose parents don’t live together can be part of both parents’ Christmas bubbles, if their parents choose to form separate bubbles. Nobody else should be in two bubbles.


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