Christmas could be saved as Government plans 5 days of household mixing indoors for groups bigger than 6 over holidays

FAMILIES could be allowed five days to enjoy get-togethers over Christmas.

Health chiefs are looking at the idea in a last-ditch bid to save the Covid-hit festivities.

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The aim is to unite the UK under a common rule that enables households to mix indoors for a limited period.

Ministers fear a mutiny of mums if they do not hatch a plan to give families Christmas get-togethers.

They are worried relatives will throw big celebrations regardless unless a suitable solution is found.

Health bosses are eyeing a five-day run when households could mix indoors for festivities, starting on Christmas Eve.

The plan will come as a huge boost to families who feared they might miss out on seeing their loved ones over Christmas.

But it may be less welcome news for those hoping they’d get away with not inviting the in-laws.


The Sun can reveal that Sage scientists have been modelling the impact of groups bigger than six meeting up.

With Christmas Eve falling on a Thursday and a planned Bank Holiday for Monday December 28, ministers are zeroing in on that five-day weekend for a short lifting of a ban on gathering in homes.

But those households that choose to link up are unlikely to be able to mix with others outside that grouping during the celebrations.

Ministers are looking to thrash out a “Four Nations” festive plan.

They would like England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to have the same Christmas treat.

But they and medics fear a full week of rules being relaxed would “normalise” mixing and want to cap it at a matter of days.

The limited relaxation of the rules is bad news for office Christmas parties and socialising that is so vital to the hospitality sector.

No10 confirmed last night: “We are looking at ways to ensure that people can spend time with close family over Christmas at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year.”

However, Boris Johnson – who is self-isolating after contact with an MP who tested positive for Covid — will not fully sign off any plans until next month.

A “sliding scale” of options are under discussion but are dependent on the Covid situation.

We are looking at ways to ensure that people can spend time with close family over Christmas.

Depending on virus rates, the rule of six could be expanded temporarily, with the possibility of exempting kids from the cap.

One insider told The Sun: “Discussions are ongoing about ­different options. Exempting under-12s is possible.”

England is due to return to the tiers system of localised restrictions on December 2, with household mixing outlawed indoors in the top two tiers.


A relaxation of restrictions would be required in much of the country to allow families to come together.

If England excludes under-12s from the rule of six it would fall into line with Wales and Scotland where kids are already exempt.

Families will be told to keep their windows open and try to stick to social distancing rules over the Christmas weekend.

Whitehall insiders insisted that no firm decisions have been made, and crunch talks are continuing.

They also fear that letting grandparents meet up indoors in big family get-togethers while Covid and flu rates are high could pose a big danger.

One insider said: “We are realistic and pragmatic — but we have got to balance that with the risk of bringing people together during the height of the pandemic.”

Ex-Sage scientist Prof Neil Ferguson told the BBC there are “ways of going part way” in allowing families to meet at Christmas without cases soaring.

He said: “You could think of allowing three or four households to bubble together for a week but not contact anybody else, which would give more opportunity to see loved ones but not a free-for-all.”

We have got to balance that with the risk of bringing people together during the height of the pandemic.

Cabinet Minister Robert Jenrick admitted publicly last night that plans are still up in the air.

He said it was too early to judge the true impact of the national lockdown on Covid figures because there is a “lag time” of two or three weeks.

He also said there was no decision yet on whether a new tougher Tier 4 would be needed.

It came as Nicola Sturgeon announced huge swathes of Scotland would go into the top level of their shutdown rules — in a national lockdown in all but name.

She told the country: “These decisions will give us the best possible chance — albeit in a limited and careful way — of being able to ease restrictions in all parts of Scotland for Christmas.”

Another 598 people in the UK have died from coronavirus.

Yesterday’s daily death toll was the highest since May 6. Tuesday figures are always high after a weekend backlog.

The total death toll is 52,745. Some 20,051 people tested positive bringing total cases to 1,410,732.


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