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What are the Rules on Bubbles this Christmas?

Perth and North Perthshire MP, Pete Wishart

LISTEN: Pete Wishart explains what the government’s key message behind the four nations approach is

The governments of the United Kingdom have agreed to relax the rules this Christmas in anticipation of people celebrating with friends and families.

This so called ‘four-nations’ approach will see the rules relax from the December 23 to 27.

Perth and North Perthshire MP, Pete Wishart, said: “We know that Christmas can be a difficult and sometimes lonely experience for some people.

“And that is why the Scottish Government ha relaxed the rules for the period from the 23rd of December, allowing for up to eight people to meet from three different households.

“The message is that if you can get past this Christmas without having to come into contact with a number of people please try and do that and observe that.”

So here is the government guidance for this festive season:

What is a Christmas bubble?

From December 23 and 27 Scots can form a bubble of up to three households.

Every household is allowed a maximum number of eight people within this bubble, excluding children under 12.

A bubble must not include people from another bubble and cannot change members.

Where can bubbles meet?

Bubbles can stay within each other’s houses, self-catering accommodation within their council area, outdoor public areas and places of worship.

But they are advised against meeting in pubs, restaurants and other entertainment venues like cinemas.

The advice also suggest that, ‘you should not go shopping with your bubble.’

What if I am not in a bubble over Christmas?

If you are not in a bubble with anyone else this Christmas, then you should stick within the rules of your local protection level.

Am I allowed to travel to form bubbles?

Yes, Scots are allowed to travel to form bubbles, the rules between this period allow people to travel anywhere in Scotland and the UK in order to form a bubble within the criteria.

If your return journey will take overnight, then you should start that journey on December 27to stick within the rules.

However, travel after December 27 is exempt if your travel is disrupted or someone within your bubble develops symptoms, in which case you should self-isolate for 14 days.

Can I visit care homes this Christmas?

The Scottish government say: ‘The safest way to spend Christmas if you want to visit someone in a care home, hospital or hospice is to stay within your own household and not form a bubble with any other household.’

Any other questions?

If you have anymore questions you can find out more information on the Scottish Government website: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-festive-period/

Explaining why the rules are allowing these changes during this period Nicola Sturgeon said: “We can’t do everything. The Christmas thing is hard enough.

“Why Christmas and not new year? Well, maybe Christmas is a more important time for the kids.

“I think for most of us, even if we value new year, Christmas is still the time when families are more likely to not have someone on their own. So we can’t do everything right now.”

She added: “We know that for some, contact with friends and family is crucial during this time as isolation and loneliness can hit people especially hard over the Christmas period. The “bubble” approach aims to reduce this impact.

“But we must be clear, there cannot be any further relaxation of measures for Hogmanay.  Even this short relaxation will give the virus a chance to spread. Our priority is to suppress transmission of COVID-19 and reduce the risk to the vulnerable and those who have spent so long shielding – and that involves abiding by the rules.

“Just because you can mix with others indoors over this time, that doesn’t mean you have to. If you choose to stick with the rules as they are, then you will be continuing the hard work to beat this virus and prevent its spread.”

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