Speaking at a Downing Street press conference earlier in December, Boris Johnson said: “On Christmas, the best way to ensure we have a Christmas as close to normal as possible is to get on with Plan B – irritating though it may be, it is not a lockdown, it is Plan B, it is what we set out a while back – and to get your booster and to get your jab.”
Asked about whether festive parties and nativity plays should be cancelled, he replied: “No, in my view they should not.”
“They should follow the guidance, of course, but we are not saying we want kids to be taken out of school before the end of term – not that there is very long to go now – and we don’t want nativity plays to be cancelled.
“We think that it is OK currently, on what we can see, to keep going with Christmas parties, but obviously everybody should exercise due caution, have ventilation, wash your hands, get a test before you go – (it is) a sensible thing to do to give everybody else at the party the confidence that they are going to be meeting someone who is not contagious.”
What the Covid restrictions mean for Christmas services:
As of December 10, face coverings became compulsory in places of worship.
However, the Prime Minister said that people who are “singing” are exempt from face masks, meaning those attending Christmas services are able to remove their face coverings when joining in carols.
What they mean for Christmas shopping and hospitality:
In England, face coverings are already required in shops and shopping centres.
Hospitality settings are exempt from face mask rules meaning people attending Christmas meals in pubs or restaurants are not required to wear a face covering.
What the rules mean for Christmas travel:
The Prime Minister did not announce any extra international travel restrictions at the Downing Street press conference or during his national address.
As such, the situation stands from the added travel restrictions that were already in place following the discovery of the omicron variant.
Eleven African countries were added to the travel red list and a number of nations – including France, Portugal and Spain – are imposing stricter restrictions on arrivals from the UK.
Travel testing rules had also already been tightened: anyone travelling to the UK must now take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival, and self-isolate until they have received a negative result – regardless of the country they are travelling from, or their vaccination status.
Additionally, all people aged 12 years and over must take a PCR or lateral flow test before they travel to England from abroad.
This article is being kept updated with the latest news and Government guidance daily.