A message from Julie Webster, Wirral’s Director of Public Health.
The festive period is traditionally an important time for many people to come together. This year however will be very different as we face the additional pressures of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As I’m sure most of you will now be aware, on 19 December, Central Government announced changes to the previously agreed ‘Christmas bubble’ period reducing this from five days to one.
They have announced that for Christmas Day - 25th December only - you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’, if you really feel you need to, composed of people from no more than two other households.
- you can only be in one Christmas bubble
- you cannot change your Christmas bubble
- you should stay local where possible
- you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or gardens, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
- you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home but only according to the rules in the tier where you are staying
- you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling or garden who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble
- people who are self-isolating should not join a Christmas bubble
From 26 December Christmas bubbles will no longer apply and we must return to the guidance which applies to Wirral which includes not mixing with other households indoors.
These changes, while disappointing for many of us, have been made to protect our health services and most importantly our most vulnerable residents.
So, I implore you, rather than squeezing as many family and friends together on Christmas Day as the rules allow, please consider reducing your group size, going digital and even postponing your plans. A smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas, and a shorter Christmas is a safer Christmas.
I will be connecting with my sister, nieces and friends via Zoom over Christmas, one of the things I never thought I would be saying at the beginning of the year!
If you do decide to form a Christmas bubble, you should take the following measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus:
- wash your hands frequently
- clean touch points regularly, such as door handles and surfaces
- meet outdoors if possible, ensure indoor spaces get as much fresh air as possible
- stop unnecessary social contact outside your immediate household as soon as possible and for at least five days before you meet other households in your bubble
- keep your bubble as small as possible
- do not visit another household if anyone in either household is feeling unwell or self-isolating
This message is correct at time of writing and sharing but, due to the swift nature of changing Coronavirus restrictions, I would advise you to check the latest advice before travelling to, hosting or joining a Christmas bubble. The full restrictions regarding Christmas arrangements can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Hopefully next year we’ll be in for a festive season, the kind of which we are used to. And, if we carry on doing all the actions we have been doing this year to keep ourselves and others safe, this will be more likely!
For now, stay safe, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.