What are the rules on forming a Christmas bubble?
On 25 December, everyone in Tiers 1, 2 and 3 are allowed to form a Christmas bubble. There are three main rules:
- you can only be in one Christmas bubble
- you cannot change your Christmas bubble
- your Christmas bubble should not include people from more than three households
It is important that you keep your Christmas bubble as small as possible.
You cannot form a bubble with anyone in Tier 4.
Read the full Christmas bubble guidance.
Where can I meet my Christmas bubble?
If someone is in your Christmas bubble, you can visit each other’s homes. You can also go to a place of worship together, or meet in public outdoor spaces.
You cannot meet your Christmas bubble in any other indoor setting, such as a pub, hotel, shop, theatre, or restaurant. In these settings, rules on who you can and cannot meet depend on your tier.
You can be with your Christmas bubble in your garden or an outdoor public place.
Is it safe to form a Christmas bubble?
The more people you see, the more likely it is that you will catch or spread coronavirus (COVID-19). You can spread coronavirus to others even if you and the people you meet have no symptoms. You and the other people in your Christmas bubble need to consider these risks carefully before agreeing to form a bubble. You should consider ways to celebrate Christmas in other ways, such as the use of technology and meeting outdoors, without bringing households together or travelling between different parts of the country.
Forming a bubble if you are vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable carries additional risks and should be carefully considered - see advice for clinically vulnerable people.
What steps should we take to celebrate Christmas safely?
You should ensure indoor spaces get as much ventilation and fresh air as possible, wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds, regularly clean areas that are frequently touched and follow rules on self-isolation if you develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus.
Can I socialise with people who aren’t in my Christmas bubble over the festive period?
You must follow the rules on socialising in Tier 2. This means you can only meet in groups of up to six outdoors, and you can’t socialise with anyone indoors who isn’t in your household or support bubble.
During the specific Christmas bubble period (25 December):
- you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you are meeting in
- if you form a Christmas bubble, you should not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble
You should reduce unnecessary contact with people you do not live with as much as possible in the two weeks before you form your Christmas bubble. Children should continue to go to school. You should work from home if you can, but you should avoid unnecessary social interaction. Any increase in contact with other people increases the risk you will catch or spread coronavirus.
Can I form a Christmas bubble if I’ve got to self-isolate?
You must not form a Christmas bubble if you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating as a close contact of a positive case. These rules are the law and you must follow them even if it means not meeting with friends or family over Christmas. Read more information on self-isolation.
Does an existing support bubble count as one household in a Christmas bubble?
Yes. Existing support bubbles count as one household towards the three household limit. This means that if you are in a support bubble, you can collectively form a Christmas bubble with two other households. However, the two households in a support bubble can also choose to form two separate Christmas bubbles.
How do Christmas bubbles work for separated parents of children under 18?
Children (under-18) whose parents do not live together may be part of both parents’ Christmas bubbles, if their parents choose to form separate bubbles. Nobody else should be in two bubbles.
Do I need to be in the same Christmas bubble as the rest of my household?
You can form a different Christmas bubble from the people you live with normally. If you and the people you are living with want to be in different Christmas bubbles, you can choose to stay somewhere else with different people for this period and form a Christmas bubble with that household and one other household (this will count as three households).
Can I travel to a different tier to form a Christmas bubble?
On 25 December, you may travel between tiers and other nations of the UK if necessary to meet with other households in your Christmas bubble or return home. Once at your destination, you should follow the rules in that tier.
Can I go to a place of worship?
From 2 December, you can attend places of worship in all tiers. In Tier 2, you should only attend with other members of your household or support bubble.
On 25 December, you may also attend a place of worship with members of your Christmas bubble. This applies in all tiers.
Can we visit Santa’s grotto over Christmas?
Santa’s 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.
Can I go to a Christmas event or performance?
Under Tier 2 rules, you can only attend indoor events and performances with members of your own household or social bubble.
What are the rules for New Year’s Eve?
You must follow the rules on where you can go and who you can meet, including on New Year’s Eve. Your Christmas bubble will no longer apply. Hospitality venues are all required to close by 23:00 at the latest.
Is carol singing allowed?
Please refer to the government guidance on carol singing.
Can I visit a relative in a care home?
The government has published care home visiting guidance. Individual care homes are responsible for their own visiting policy so please do speak to them before visiting.
Can I travel abroad or have relatives visit from abroad?
You may travel abroad, including to visit friends and family, subject to any restrictions in place at your destination.
Travel to the UK from abroad will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach. Individuals will need to self-isolate for 14 days if arriving from or have travelled through a non-travel corridor country or territory.