Christmas shoppers warned 'not to spend more than 15 minutes in each store'

30 November 2020, 10:37

Many people will be starting Christmas shopping when shops reopen
Many people will be starting Christmas shopping when shops reopen. Picture: PA

SAGE has advised the public to limit the time they spend in each shop when they reopen after lockdown.

A government scientist has warned the public not to spend more than 15 minutes in each store while Christmas shopping to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Read more: Government announce full list of areas in each Tier in new England lockdown system

SAGE professor Lucy Yardley said that the 'less time you spend in there, the safer you are' while shopping for presents.

When asked in a recent interview how long is 'too long' to spend in a shop, she said: "Well, the rule that is useful for contact tracing is that if you spend 15 minutes with somebody closer than two metres, then you have definitely had a potentially infectious contact with them.

Non-essential shops in England will open on Wednesday
Non-essential shops in England will open on Wednesday. Picture: PA

"So that's quite a generous amount of time, I am not sure that most of us would need that amount of time in a shop.

"And really the the less time that you spend in there, the safer you are. If you spend time, close enough to somebody and they happen to bring it on you or call for new, then it doesn't take 15 minutes to catch the virus."

She also added that - as long as people were masks and social distancing is enforced - Christmas shopping is "not the most dangerous thing."

Read more: New Year's Eve pub trips banned for millions as government issues warning

And speaking about the relaxation of lockdown rules over Christmas, she urged people to 'take a step back' and think before visiting elderly relatives this festive period.

Christmas shoppers have been advised to limit the time spent in stores
Christmas shoppers have been advised to limit the time spent in stores. Picture: PA

She said: "Is it really important for you to share your home for the entire period that's allowed?

"Because that is very risky to older people who are particularly vulnerable to this infection.

"So I think, although we're allowed to do that, and some people will want to do that, the first question to ask yourself is, would it be better to put it off for a few months until they've been vaccinated?"

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed last week that the lockdown rules would be relaxed between 23rd and 27th December, allowing up to three households to meet indoors fore Christmas.

He said in a statement: "All four nations of the UK have agreed that from the 23 December to the 27 December, you will be able to form a Christmas bubble with up to two households.

"You will be able to spend time together at home, or go for a walk, go to church or another communal service of worship."

He added: "Reflecting the ties of kinship across out islands, this agreement mean that wherever you live in the UK, families will be able to reunite."

Mr Johnson explained that he knows this "does not equate to a normal Christmas" and that the plans "will not work for everyone".

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