COVID-19 Guidance for the Christmas Period

It’s 1 December 2020 and we are beginning to make preparations for the Christmas season, to bring to a close an unprecedented year. In the early hours of Sunday 29 November 2020, the Government published COVID-19 guidance for the Christmas period following the end of lockdown on 2 December 2020.

We have set out elements of the guidance below.


The guidance states that those who are working during this period should continue to do so, where they can, from home.

Work Christmas lunches or parties, where it is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in the relevant tier, are specifically prohibited.

Meeting family and friends and travel within the UK

  • From 2 December to 23 December 2020
    • Guidance related to the tier system must be adhered to.
    • Guidance on travelling outside of the relevant tier will depend upon the tier each person is living in – this will include for overnight stays.
  • From 23 December to 27 December 2020
    • Christmas bubbles may be formed which will allow people from no more than three households to be able to spend time together in private homes, to attend places of worship or meet in a public outdoor place. Christmas bubbles cannot be changed and people can only be in one Christmas bubble.
    • People may travel between tiers and other nations of the UK, if necessary, to meet with other households in their Christmas bubbles, or to return home, between 23 and 27 December 2020 (save for travelling to and from Northern Ireland which may be between 22 and 28 December 2020).
    • People who are not in each other’s Christmas bubble should follow local restrictions relating to the tier in place in the area in which they are staying.
    • If people do not form a Christmas bubble, they must continue to follow the guidance for the tier in their area.
    • The rules on who people can meet in bars, pubs and restaurants will not change.
    • The rules on who people can meet in shops will not change. This includes Boxing Day sales.
  • From 28 December 2020
    • People must follow the guidance for the tier in their area and Christmas bubbles will no longer apply.
    • People must follow the rules on where they can go and who they can meet, including on New Year’s Eve.

Travel abroad

  • From 2 December 2020, people may travel abroad, including to visit friends and family, subject to any restrictions in place at the destination. However, those in Tier 3 should avoid leaving their tier, including for international travel, other than for work, education or caring responsibilities.
  • Travel to the UK from abroad will continue to be governed by travel corridors, and those who arrive from countries not on the travel corridor list shall be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
  • From 15 December 2020, the quarantine period may be able to be reduced as people will have the option to take a test after 5 days of self-isolation which, if negative, will release them from the need to isolate.
  • Those who are self-isolating or who have COVID-19 symptoms must not form a Christmas bubble.
  • These rules will remain the same throughout the Christmas period.

Tori Shepherd, Employment Law Solicitor – / 01748 296 251


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