The Christmas question is on everyone’s mind as coronavirus restrictions continue to threaten to disrupt family reunions in the UK.
Some other countries in Europe have already warned residents that it is too early to make Christmas plans and prepare for possible restrictions. But will the British government say the same?
Regional travel limited to Sweden
Many countries in Europe have told residents not to plan ahead for Christmas as it is too early to know if travel arrangements will be possible.
Swedes have been urged to prepare for possible travel restrictions during the holiday season, with Irish and French authorities deeming it to be too early to say whether residents can organize their trip.
Anders Tegnel, Sweden’s leading state epidemiologist, has asked citizens to be prepared for the possibility that travel will be restricted between different parts of the country during the Christmas season. This is so that the regional health services avoid being overwhelmed.
France is currently under a second lockdown, with people only able to leave their homes to go to work (if they cannot work from home), buy basic necessities, seek medical help or exercise. maximum one hour per day.
Schools and nurseries remain open, but all non-essential shops, restaurants and bars are currently closed.
Although some shops may be allowed to reopen from December 1, depending on the number of cases, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said it was currently “too early” to say whether citizens could travel to Christmas.
Will the UK follow suit?
The UK has yet to be ordered not to make plans with its family over Christmas, but various coronavirus restrictions have been put in place across the four countries. The hope is that these will curb the spread of the coronavirus and potentially allow families to reunite during this festive time.
England is currently in a second lockdown until December 2, with shops, pubs and restaurants closed and people are urged to stay at home except for specific purposes. At the end of the second lockdown period, the country will then revert to a regional approach, based on the latest data.
Scotland currently has a tiered system in place, with different rules in different locations depending on what tier an area belongs to.
A second ‘firewall’ lockdown recently ended in Wales and a partial lockdown ended in Northern Ireland – although measures are still in place for both countries.
At the end of October, Environment Secretary George Eustice said it was “too early to say” what coronavirus rules will be in place by Christmas, warning people “may not be in. able to meet in larger groups than they normally would have. “
A plan has been announced to bring students home to England safely for the holiday season, with departure dates assigned to students during a travel window between December 3 and 9.
In Wales, students are urged to travel no later than December 9, and Northern Ireland is expected to publish its plans for students in the coming days.
The Scottish government also wants many of its students returning home for Christmas to be offered voluntary coronavirus testing before their trip.
Discussions have also taken place recently with respect to the four UK countries taking a common approach to Covid-19 rules at Christmas.
The Scottish, Welsh and North Irish Prime Ministers had a virtual meeting with Cabinet Minister Michael Gove and other senior UK officials, with Mr Gove saying they all recognize families across the UK ‘want be able to see their loved ones at Christmas. ”