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The Government has announced its Covid Winter Plan for England, when the latest nationwide lockdown ends on 2nd December, as well as the Christmas Covid Rules to allow people to form a ‘Christmas bubble’, to see their families and friends. Here we talk about what to expect over the festive period. 

 

What happens after this lockdown?

When the second nationwide lockdown ends on 2nd December, Covid-19 restrictions will be returning to the ‘three tier’ system but with some tougher measures and the likelihood of more regions being placed in higher tiers. The designated tier for each area of England is expected to be announced on 26th November.

From the 2nd December, in all tiers:

  • Shops, gyms and personal care services (such as hair salons) will all reopen
  • Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports will resume
  • People will no longer be limited to seeing one other person outdoors
  • The ‘rule of six’ will apply in outdoor public spaces
  • Non essential foreign travel is allowed, subject to quarantine rules

Rules and restrictions for hospitality venues, such as pubs will be specific to each tier:

  • In tier one (the lowest risk tier), pubs will be able to open until 11pm, but only serving until 10pm 
  • In tier two, pubs can only open if they serve substantial meals
  • In tier three, hospitality venues must close, apart from delivery and takeaway services

 

 

What are the rules for Christmas?

At Christmas, coronavirus restrictions will be eased to allow people to see family and friends, including being able to travel anywhere in the UK.

Form A Christmas Bubble

In England, between 23rd and 27th of December, up to three households will be allowed to form a temporary “Christmas bubble” who can mix indoors and stay overnight.

  • Christmas bubbles will be allowed to meet each other in each other’s homes, at a place of worship or in an outdoor public space or garden
  • The bubbles will be fixed, so you will not be able to mix with two households on Christmas Day and two different ones on Boxing Day. Households you are in a Christmas bubble with can’t be in others.
  • There will be no limit to the number of people in a household joining a bubble.
  • If you have formed a support bubble with another household, that counts as one household, so you can join with two other households in a Christmas bubble.
  • People who are self-isolating should not join a Christmas bubble. 
  • If someone tests positive, or develops coronavirus symptoms up to 48 hours after the Christmas bubble last met, everyone will have to self-isolate.
  • You will not be allowed to go with your Christmas bubble to hospitality settings, such as pubs and restaurants or to entertainment venues.
  • You can meet people outside your Christmas bubble, but only in line with the rules of the tier you live in.

As rules are eased and people begin planning to meet with friends and family over Christmas, it’s important to consider the risks, not only to yourself and others, but particularly for those who are more vulnerable to the complications of coronavirus.

Full details of the latest guidance from the Government can be found here 

 

Order online, in good time for Christmas

As we come out of lockdown and with the easing of restrictions at Christmas, it’s important to continue making sure the virus is kept under control, to help save lives and protect the NHS this winter. Patients and their families should continue to stay safe by doing what they can to minimise the risk of catching the virus.

Having helped save our patients over 3.5 million trips outside since lockdown so far, our NHS repeat prescription service means people can get their medication over the festive period, without having to make unnecessary journeys and avoiding queues.

 

Protect yourself from flu this winter

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself from flu, which will also help relieve any added strain on the NHS this winter. The flu vaccination is the most effective method of protecting yourself from flu and by having a flu jab, you will be significantly reducing your risk of getting flu and keeping your immune system at its strongest.

Our drive through flu vaccination service is a safe and easy way to get your flu jab. Find out more here.