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Can I meet up with friends and family after lockdown? The new tier system explained


Can grandparents look after their grandchildren?

Depending on the tiers, households are not allowed to mix indoors with the exception of the current support bubbles which allow one other person, such as an elderly relative, to visit.

This means a grandparent that provides childcare while a parent works, will still be able to continue to do so.

Along with schools, childcare providers will also remain open.

Can grandparents hug their grandchildren?

Hugging grandparents, who are often seen as being in the vulnerable category, is not encouraged or recommended by the government. 

Although there will be no advice telling elderly and vulnerable people to shield themselves, the Government have said people with certain medical conditions and anyone over 60 to be especially careful.

Those who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable will be asked to “minimise their contact with others”. 

Professor Chris Whitty stated in the briefing from Downing St on Thursday that although he would like people to catch up with their relatives over the festive period, he would not recommend anything more than seeing them.

“Would I encourage someone to hug and kiss elderly relatives? No, I would not.”

What are the rules for meeting friends?

The rules all depend on which tier your area fall into. 

If you are in Tier 1, a maximum of six people can meet indoors or outdoors, excluding support bubbles. 

If you are in Tier 2, no mixing of households indoors is allowed apart from support bubbles – but up to six people can meet outdoors. 

If you are in Tier 3, no mixing of households indoors our outdoors is permitted and a maximum of six people can meet in some outdoor environments, such as sports courts or public gardens. 

Can I meet my friends at the pub this Christmas?

Families will be able to ‘bubble’ with two other households for five days at Christmas under a deal struck by the Government with the devolved nations, but those bubbles cannot meet up inside pubs, hotels, retail, theatres or restaurants. The short answer is no, unless you live in Tier 1 and adhere to the ‘Rule of Six’. 

Christmas is bound to look different this year. Here’s how Covid restrictions are going to affect Christmas festivities this year. 



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