Have a COVID-19 safe Christmas this year
Cases of coronavirus are rising again in Hackney, residents are urged to remain cautious and keep following HANDS, FACE, SPACE this Christmas.
Christmas will be very different this year even with the limited relaxations of the rules and initial limited vaccination. Residents are being urged to strictly follow social distancing rules and consider delaying family get-togethers until later in 2021.
Moving gatherings online may be the best way of keeping everyone safe, especially where family members have underlying health conditions or shielding as the virus is still dangerous and can make people very ill or even cause death.
The coronavirus regulations have been amended to enable up to three households to form exclusive “Bubbles” over Christmas in the UK, during a 5-day period 23 to 27 December.
These 3 households will then form a “Christmas Bubble” which must be exclusive. Each person can only belong to one bubble and, once formed, the bubble cannot include other people or households and will not be able to visit pubs or restaurants together. People are being asked to think carefully who is in their Christmas Bubble and whether any of them are at particularly high risk from coronavirus, such as older friends or relatives. To reduce the risk to their bubble, people are being asked to try and reduce their contact with other people for the two weeks before they go into their bubble on 23 December.
People in a Christmas Bubble can mix in homes, places of worship and outdoor spaces, and travel restrictions will also be eased. The Christmas Bubble of 3 households can stay overnight at each other's homes, but cannot visit pubs, restaurants, or hotels, theatres or shops together.
Children (under-18) whose parents do not live together may be part of both parents’ Christmas Bubbles, if their parents choose to form separate bubbles. Nobody else should be in two bubbles.
Christmas will be very different for everyone this year, even though we are allowed to meet a limited number of our loved ones face to face for a 5 day period. The virus will not be taking a break and vaccinations will still be some months away for most people. We must think carefully before meeting people, as the more we mix the more likely we are to transmit or catch Coronavirus, a virus which is still able to make people very ill and be life threatening for older and clinically vulnerable people. If you are forming a Christmas Bubble: make sure you strictly follow the guidance and clean touch points - such as door handles and light switches - often; keep the room ventilated; maintain as much physical distance as you can at all times, ideally 2m; and, ensure people are regularly washing their hands.
I would like to thank all of our residents, businesses and those who work in Hackney for the changes they have made and the community spirit shown over the past year.
We are seeing cases rise in London and residents have continued to lose their lives in recent weeks. We must remain steadfast and carry on practising hands, face, space and keeping to the guidelines, if possible staying close to home, shopping safely and locally and avoiding crowds. Doing this can save lives and avoid further restrictions now or in the new year.
Thankfully, an end is now in sight with the vaccine, but we have to keep working together until that has been fully rolled out to make sure our friends, family and communities are kept safe. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
People are being urged to consider delaying Christmas celebrations into 2021 or doing them online this year, as we await the country-wide vaccination programme. It won’t be possible to guarantee that your celebrations are completely COVID-free, unless you undertake them online. However, if you do plan on forming a Christmas bubble and inviting people into your home, there are ways to reduce the risk of COVID transmission.
- Do not allow people to visit your home who do not live with you, except for people in your “Christmas Bubble” and only during the period between 23-27 December
- Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitiser
- Clean touch points regularly, such as door handles, light switches, banisters and other surfaces
- Make sure you let as much fresh air in as possible, by opening windows and doors in short bursts of 10-15 minutes or leaving them ajar. Add an extra layer of clothing, to avoid getting cold.
- Testing will be available throughout the Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year periods. So if you do develop Covid-19 symptoms at any point you can and must get tested and isolate if you test positive.
The Tier restrictions will be back in place on 28 December and cover New Year's Eve. Fireworks in London have been cancelled this year. You must comply with the required restrictions outside the five day period.
In the 2 weeks that follow a persons last meeting with their Christmas bubble, they should again reduce their contact with people they do not live with as much as possible.