Reduce contacts before forming Christmas bubble

10 December 2020

Public urged to limit unnecessary contacts before they form Christmas bubbles

With less than two weeks before families begin to form their Christmas bubbles, residents are being encouraged to reduce any unnecessary contact with people not in their household.

Swindon Borough Council has joined forces with Wiltshire Council to urge residents to follow the advice so they can enjoy Christmas with their loved ones.

People will be allowed to form an exclusive Christmas bubble made up of people from no more than three households between December 23 and 27.

Residents in those bubbles can only meet in private homes and gardens, places of worship and public outdoor spaces.

If someone is in a Christmas bubble, they can visit each other’s homes and stay overnight, including in private rented accommodation.

The Government is advising people to reduce unnecessary contact with those they do not live with as much as possible in the two weeks before they form a Christmas bubble.

The guidance states that children should continue to go to school and people should work from home if they can, but to avoid any unnecessary social interaction as increasing contact with others increases the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus.

Steve Maddern, Swindon Borough Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “This really is a crucial time for those of us who want to spend Christmas with loved ones and form an exclusive bubble.

“The last thing any of us want to do is meet up with family and friends and spread coronavirus as that would be the worst Christmas present of all. We have two weeks to go until December 23 so the less people you are in contact with between now and then, the lower your risk of catching or unwittingly spreading COVID.

“Preparing now and doing all you can to protect yourself and those in your bubble will have a legacy well beyond Christmas. It’s up to all of us to avoid a January COVID backlash that could overwhelm the GWH and local health services.”

Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health for Wiltshire Council, said: “We ask that people be as cautious as they can be in the lead up to and throughout Christmas.

“We all desperately want to avoid a spike in cases come the new year, so in order to keep each other as safe as possible we need everyone to continue to play their part. If people start to limit who they see now, then that increases the chances of everyone in a festive bubble enjoying a happy and healthy Christmas.”

People who have a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, or a loss of taste and/or smell are also reminded to book a test as soon as possible, and self-isolate until their results are known.

People can book at test at the Government's test booking website.

There is a quick turnaround between booking a test at a local test site local and getting the results back, so people are encouraged to play their part and follow the guidance. Test centres will also be open throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

The easiest way to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 is to keep:

• Washing hands - keep washing hands regularly
• Wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces
• Making space - stay at least two metres apart or one metre with a face covering or other precautions
• Self-isolating when required to do so.