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Detailed guide: Guidance for the Christmas Period

Cabinet Office

November 29
00:15 2020

From 2 December, you must follow the guidance for the tier in your area. Find out what restrictions are in place in your area.

Meeting friends and family

There are different rules on meeting friends and family, depending on when you meet them.

From 2 December to 23 December

From 2 December to 23 December, you must follow the guidance for the tier in your area.

From 23 December to 27 December

From 23 December to 27 December, you may choose to form a Christmas bubble.

A Christmas bubble will be able to spend time together in private homes, to attend places of worship, or meet in a public outdoor place.

In all other settings, people should follow local restrictions in the tier in which they are staying.

If you do not form a Christmas bubble, you should continue to follow the guidance for the tier in your area. You may still meet with your support bubble or childcare bubble.

From 28 December

From 28 December, you must follow the guidance for the tier in your area. Christmas bubbles will no longer apply.

Visiting bars, pubs and restaurants

From 2 December, the rules on who you can meet with in bars, pubs and restaurants will depend on your tier. The rules might be different for indoor and outdoor hospitality settings. Check the rules for your tier.

Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on who you can meet in bars, pubs and restaurants will not change.

Visiting churches and other places of worship

From 2 December, you can attend places of worship in all tiers. The rules on who you can meet with whilst at places of worship will depend on your tier. Check the rules for your tier.

Between 23 and 27 December, you may also attend a place of worship with members of your Christmas bubble. This applies in all tiers.

There is further information in the guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic.

Visiting shops and Christmas markets

From 2 December, the rules on who you can meet with in shops will depend on your tier. The rules might be different for indoor shops and open air shops, such as Christmas markets or Christmas tree markets. Check the rules for your tier.

Santas grottos are able to open in all tiers where they are located in venues otherwise permitted to open. Venues should put in place appropriate covid-secure measures, including social distancing.

Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on who you can meet in shops will not change. This includes Boxing Day sales.

There is further information in the guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Attending events, including performances and Christmas lighting ceremonies

From 2 December, the rules on attending events, including performances and Christmas lighting ceremonies will depend on your tier. The rules might be different for indoor and outdoor events. Check the rules for your tier.

Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on indoor events will not change. You can attend outdoor events with your Christmas bubble.

There is further information in the guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants.

Celebrating New Years Eve

You must follow the rules on where you can go and who you can meet, including on New Years Eve. Your Christmas bubble will no longer apply. Check the rules for your tier.

Carol singing

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Singing, shouting and physical activity increases the risk of transmission through small droplets and aerosols. If singing does take place, steps should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission, including limiting the number of people participating as far as possible. The cumulative effect of aerosol transmission means the more people involved, the higher the risk of transmission.

Carol singing or carol services can take place if all attendees follow advice in the suggested principles of safer singing and guidance for the Performing Arts developed by an expert group coordinated by Public Health England. This applies to both professional and amateur choirs.

Those performing or rehearsing:

  • In a professional capacity; or

  • As part of a supervised activity for under 18s

are not limited in number and do not have to adhere to gathering limits but should still follow the performing arts guidance.

For adult amateur performances and rehearsals, you should consider the case for proceeding (or not), given the wider health context in your area and the context of your participants, particularly if vulnerable individuals are involved.

If you do proceed, you should follow performing arts guidance and will be subject to local gathering limits. This means that if more than one group of six (in tier 1) or household (in tier 2 or 3) is performing or rehearsing indoors, they must not interact, mingle or otherwise socialise together. You should maintain social distancing between groups or households at all times, including when entering or leaving the building or in any breaks. Direction can continue to take place during the activity i.e. between a conductor and a group, but other physical and social interaction is prohibited.

Indoor performances

Professional and amateur choirs may perform in any indoor venue permitted to open, as per the restrictions in each tier and should follow the rules outlined above.

Based on public health advice for indoor performances, the audience or congregation should not participate in any activity that can create aerosols, including singing, shouting and chanting. The maximum number of people present should take into account the area of the space and the requirement to maintain 2m social distancing at all times. This follows the advice generally for the Performing Arts. Particular attention should be paid to how participants can arrive and leave the site safely while maintaining social distancing.

Attendees should walk or cycle to the event and avoid public transport or sharing a car with anyone outside their household in line with safer travel advice.

Outdoor performances

Professional and amateur choirs may perform outdoors in any venue permitted to open, as per the restrictions in each tier and should follow the rules outlined above.

Where a performance is held outdoors, an audience or congregation may join in with singing and should follow performing arts guidance. This means that audience or congregation members should follow social distancing of 2m and event organisers should ensure this is maintained. Attendees should remain seated where possible. The maximum number of people present should take into account the area of the outdoor space and the requirement to maintain 2m social distancing at all times. Particular attention should be paid

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