Coronavirus / What are the Christmas rules in Tier 4?

Coronavirus: What are the Christmas rules in Tier 4?

This information was correct as of 21 December 2020 but is subject to possible changes.

Unless otherwise stated, this page sets out the law and guidance which applies in England only.

New Tier 4 rules apply in many parts of England from 20 December 2020. These rules affect what you can do and who you can meet with over the festive period, as we explain on this page.

If you’re not such which Tier your area is in, you can use this postcode checker tool to find out.

Can I meet family and friends this Christmas?

No. There is no specific exception in the Tier 4 rules for gatherings during the Christmas period. You can only spend Christmas with your household, or with your support bubble if you have one, unless one of the other exceptions to the gathering rules applies. For example, you are still allowed to form childcare bubbles.

This means that if you travel to see family or friends for Christmas, you may be committing a criminal offence.

I live alone. Can I form a “Christmas bubble?”

You can no longer form a Christmas bubble with other households if you are in Tier 4.

However, if you have formed a support bubble, you can still see them regardless of which Tier you are in. Check here if you are eligible to form a support bubble.

My support bubble is in a different Tier to me – can I still see them?

Yes, you can. The rules make it clear that you have a reasonable excuse for leaving your home when you are visiting members of your support bubble, no matter which Tier they live in.

Remember, you cannot join a Christmas bubble with households living in Tiers 1, 2 and 3. If members of your support bubble live outside of Tier 4, they will need to decide either to meet with you (as part of their support bubble) on Christmas Day or to form a Christmas bubble with members of up to two other households living in Tiers 1-3. They cannot do both.

Can I travel to other Tiers?

If you live in Tier 4, you can only leave your home where you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. Assuming you have a reasonable excuse, there is no legal ban on travelling to other Tiers. Government guidance, however, says that you should try to stay local, meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live.

Remember, if you leave Tier 4, you are still subject to Tier 4 rules on gatherings. This means that you must not travel to visit anyone indoors unless they are in your household or support bubble, and you can only meet up with one person from outside your household or support bubble outdoors, in a public outdoor place.

Can I travel internationally?

You can travel internationally but only if you have a reasonable excuse for leaving and staying away from your home. For example, you are allowed to travel for work. However, holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

We recommend you check the Government’s travel advice for your destination and check with your airline before travelling, as a number of countries have introduced travel bans to and from the UK.

My child doesn’t live with me. Can I still see them at Christmas?

Yes. The rules say that you are allowed to gather indoors or outdoors if this is done for the purposes of contact arrangements between children and their parents who don’t live in the same household.

If your child does not live with you, you can therefore see them at Christmas.

This applies only to children under the age of 18.

I am clinically vulnerable to coronavirus. Can I still travel to my support bubble?

Yes. There is no legal restriction on travelling to visit members of your support bubble, and this includes people who are clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable.

However, the Government has issued guidance to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, advising them to shield and not to travel unless essential.

Where can I find more information?

The Government has produced guidance on what you can do in Tier 4 during Christmas, which you can find here.

What are my rights on this?

Find out more about your rights and how the Human Rights Act protects them

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