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What restrictions are in place for Christmas 2020?

Some restrictions are being relaxed on Christmas Day - stay on top of what rules are in place with our easy read guide.

The guidance below has been updated to reflect the Prime Minister's statement on 19 December 2020.

Arrangements across England for Christmas Day 

The government has announced a time-limited change to social restrictions to allow for some increased social contact on Christmas Day. This does not apply to areas placed in Tier 4

Social contact arrangements

On 25 December, you may:

  • form an exclusive "Christmas bubble" with up to three households (to reduce the risk of you catching and spreading the virus you should minimise the time you spend with your Christmas bubble)

How will the Christmas bubbles work?

  • If you live in Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 you are allowed to form a Christmas bubble, but you can only be in one (exemptions apply to children under-18 whose parents do not live together)
  • You must not join a Christmas bubble with anyone from a Tier 4 area
  • You must not form a Christmas bubble if you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating
  • In England, existing support bubbles will continue to be counted 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
  • Childcare bubbles will not be counted as one household towards the three household limit. This means that you and the other household in your childcare bubble will count as two households towards the three household limit for Christmas bubbles.

What can people in Christmas bubbles do?

Christmas bubbles will be able to:

  • gather in each other's homes or gardens (you must not stay overnight);
  • attend places of worship together; and
  • meet in public outdoor places.

However, you cannot meet your Christmas bubble in any other indoor setting (i.e. a pub, hotel, shop, theatre, or restaurant). In these settings, rules on who you can and cannot meet will depend on your tier.

From 26 December

Christmas bubbles will no longer apply and:

  • you should reduce your contact with people you do not live with as much as possible after seeing your Christmas bubble, to reduce the risk of chains of transmission.
  • you must follow the guidance for the tier in your area, as a minimum.

Travel arrangements

  • If you live in Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 and choose to form a Christmas bubble, you should consider carefully the risks of travelling at all.
  • Specifically, if you live in a Tier 3 area, you should avoid travelling to regions in Tier 1 and Tier 2 where possible.
  • If you plan to travel to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you should read guidance from ScotlandWales or Northern Ireland before you travel.

Visit the government website for the latest Rules on travel over the Christmas Period

Business arrangements


  • Hotels, guest houses, Bed and Breakfasts and other privately rented accommodation which is not allowed to open in a Tier 3 restricted area except for specific circumstances, will be permitted to open and take bookings for leisure travel from 24 - 26 December (Guests must check out on or before 26 December).
  • Guests should not gather as a Christmas bubble in a hotel, hostel or B&B unless a member of the bubble resides there permanently.
  • Guests can stay in private rented accommodation (e.g. short term holiday lets) with members of their household or their Christmas bubble if necessary.

All accommodation providers must ensure that they follow guidance to remain COVID-secure.

All other businesses and venues

  • All other Tier 1-3 business restrictions will remain in place.

Full guidance for the Christmas period is available on the government website.

Government Guidance - expected update

On 30 December the Tiers will be reviewed - you will be able to view the rulings for each Tier here. To find out what you can and cannot do in each tier, visit the government's Local restriction tiers guide. 

Local restriction tiers: what you need to know

More information is available on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Support website. For more personalised advice call us on: 0161 237 4128 or email us at:


The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. GC Business Growth Hub does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information, and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the Coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit is entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to the GC Business Growth Hub, and The Growth Company is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

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