Households Will Only Be Able To Mix On Christmas Day, The PM Says In Rule U-Turn

By Rachael Grealish

Boris Johnson’s ‘Merry Little Christmas’ is set to get smaller as households will only be able to mix on Christmas Day in a new rule u-turn.

The Prime Minister announced today, Saturday December 19, in a press conference that households in Tier 1,2 and 3 will not longer be able to mix between December 23 and 27.

Johnson has put the u-turn down to the new variant of COVID which has been found to be driving the spread in London and the South East – two areas which are now being put into the new Tier 4.

New restrictions will come in for the parts of London, the South East and the east of England which are currently in tier 3, he says.

These areas will enter Tier 4, broadly equivalent to the national restrictions brought in during November.

The new variant doesn’t seem to be more dangerous but does seem to spread more easily and could increase the R by 0.4 or more and up to 70 percent more transmissible than the orginal disease, the PM said.

Johnson said: “We must look again at Christmas. Given the early evidence on the new variant of the virus, the potential risk means we can’t continue with Christmas as planned.”

He continued, those in Tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their household at Christmas, though support bubbles will remain in place.

Across the rest of the country, up to three households can meet but this will be limited to Christmas Day only, rather than the five days previously set out.

There will be no relaxation on the 31 December, so people must not break the rules for New Year’s, he said.

The whole of Cumbria stayed in Tier 2, despite areas of the county having decreased numbers of new cases, after the last review date.

Johnson confirmed the next review date for all tiers would be December 30.