Government warns families to meet 'as little as possible' over Christmas as 'rules could be tightened'
15 December 2020, 08:38 | Updated: 15 December 2020, 08:45
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay has warned against family Christmas' this year.
A government minister has said families should stay cautious over the festive period, despite Covid rules relaxing.
Between 23 and 27 December, three households can form a ‘Christmas bubble’ which means they can mix indoors and stay overnight.
But The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay has urged people to do the ‘minimum possible’ as coronavirus rates continue to rise in many parts of the country.
Speaking about the rules, he told Sky News: “People shouldn’t misinterpret what the guidelines say. It’s not saying people must go and see family.
“It’s saying that where family want to see each other, they won’t be criminalised for doing so. But it’s important people do the minimum that is possible.
“So people will make their own judgements, families will make their own judgements. I won’t be seeing my parents over Christmas.”
He also refused to rule out that the restrictions will change, adding: “All things are all kept under review.”
Downing Street have insisted there were no plans to put a stop to Christmas bubbles meeting, while a source recently told the Mail: “The Christmas rules might change.”
This comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that people must be careful over the next few weeks, with London and large parts of Essex and Hertfordshire heading into Tier 3.
Speaking during a government Covid briefing at the House of Commons on Monday, Mr Hancock said: “Our messages around Christmas are really clear.
"We understand why people want to see their loved ones, especially at this time of year, especially after this year.
“But it must be done in a way that is careful and responsible, and I think people understand that too.
“If you are planning to meet up with loved ones at Christmas, then being careful now, two weeks ahead, making sure you minimise the chance of both catching the disease and passing it on is the right thing to do – actually, that’s the right thing to do all the time.”
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty also said people should not meet just because they can.
“The point of this (relaxation of rules) is for, under certain circumstances, families who wish to, to get together, but they really have to be very, very careful," he added.
“And in particular, incredibly careful if they’re around people who are vulnerable, who are at very high risk of this virus."