The UK government and the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have come together to agree a limited relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over Christmas. 

Up to three households will be allowed to form a Christmas “bubble” over the festive period as coronavirus restrictions are relaxed for five days across the UK. 

The temporary easing of measure will last between December 23 and December 27. 

Despite families being able to mix at home, restrictive measures will still be in place in venues such as pubs or restaurants as dependant on the new tier system.  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give details on Thursday regarding which areas of England will be placed in which tier ahead of the end of national lockdown on December 2.  

Here are the key points you need to know from the government’s latest guidance in the lead-up to Christmas: 

Your Christmas “bubble” 

Up to three households will be able to come together to form a “Christmas bubble” during that period.  

Members of a bubble can meet at home, in places of worship and in outdoor public places but will not be able to get together in pubs or restaurants and restrictions on hospitality will be maintained depending on which tier people are living under. 

Bubbles must be fixed for the duration of the period and cannot be changed. Bubble members will not be required to follow social distancing while they are together – although they are advised to exercise caution if there are vulnerable people involved. 


Travel restrictions will be lifted across the UK for five days between December 23 and 27 to enable people from different households to gather over the holiday. 

Those travelling to and from Northern Ireland will be permitted to travel for an additional day either side of the five days.  



Children under the age 18 whose parents live apart can be a part of both parents’ bubbles if they chose to form different groupings. 


In England, students who have returned home for the holidays are treated a part of their family household, rather than their student household, for the purposes of forming a Christmas bubble. The rules may vary in other administrations when detailed regulations are published. 

People are advised to reduce unnecessary contact with those they do not live within the two weeks before they join a bubble.