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Christmas will be allowed to go ahead with up to four households permitted to mix over five days – government officials have confirmed.
After eight months of coronavirus related lockdown, and weeks of Christmas looking uncertain, the news will come as a welcome boost as the festive season nears.
On Sunday, the Government confirmed plans that four households will be allowed to mix – including trips to the pub – over five days during the Christmas season.
While the measure is going to be UK wide after governments in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland agreed to fall in line with decisions by Westminster.
Families will be required to choose their mixing households in advance – and will be allowed to mix indoors.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove said there would be “limited additional household bubbling for a small number days”.
A statement from the Cabinet Office said: "Ministers reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real.
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"As such, Ministers endorsed a shared objective of facilitating some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days, but also emphasised that the public will be advised to remain cautious, and that wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact."
They added: "In respect of Northern Ireland, Ministers also recognised that people will want to see family and friends across the island of Ireland, and this is the subject of discussions with the Irish Government."
The Mirror suggests the ban on household mixing will "likely be lifted for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day through to the delayed Boxing Day Bank Holiday on the 28 December."
What the government's new coronavirus three-tier system could look like
Meanwhile, the current country-wide lockdown in place across England is likely to lift on December 2 as planned.
It is believed that tough three tier measures will be put in place once lockdown lifts – however, some rules that had been in place before the lockdown will be eased.
Pubs are likely to introduce a last orders at 10pm – whereas before they had to be shut by the deadline.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government hopes the current lockdown will be replaced with a tiered system "similar to what we had before" from December 2.
The tiers are anticipated to be divided again into medium, high or very high risk categories representing Tiers 1, 2 and 3 respectively.
Following the introduction of the current England-wide lockdown on November 5, there was some suggestion that localised tier 3 lockdowns – which saw some businesses closed – being effective.
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