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Celebrate safely this Christmas

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With Christmas fast approaching health leaders are reminding residents to celebrate safely and act responsibly to keep themselves, their loved ones and those around them safe.

From December 23 to 27 restrictions on social contact are being eased, with up to three households being able to ‘bubble’ for the festive period.

Those in a Christmas bubble will be able to spend time together in private homes and gardens.

However, as the virus thrives indoors, particularly in poorly ventilated environments, people are being encouraged to think carefully before making plans and consider alternative options, such as virtual get togethers or meeting outdoors.

And with Christmas parties on ice this year, friends and work colleagues are also being encouraged to celebrate virtually.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for public health said:

People across the borough have pulled together to help bring the virus rates down in recent weeks and I’d like to thank everyone for their tremendous efforts.
It’s now vital as we approach the festive period, we continue to do all we can to keep the cases low and we know for many of us this will mean celebrating Christmas differently this year.
We recognise people will want to be with their family and friends over the holidays, especially after such a difficult year, however, coronavirus won’t be taking a festive break.
Please can everyone think carefully before making plans and consider the risks to family and friends, especially those who are vulnerable, and look at alternative ways of getting together.
We must all continue to play our part to limit the spread of the virus and to help keep us all safe over Christmas and into the New Year.

Between 23 and 27 December:

  • you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ of no more than three households
  • you can only be in one Christmas bubble
  • you cannot change your Christmas bubble
  • you can travel between tiers and UK nations for meeting your Christmas bubble
  • you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home, according to the rules in the tier you are meeting in.
  • if you form a Christmas bubble, you should not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble

You must not form a Christmas bubble if you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating and if anyone in the bubble tests positive or develops symptoms between December 23 to 27, or up to 48 hours after you last saw each other, everyone in the bubble must self-isolate for 14 days.

If you are not in a Christmas bubble, or if you want to meet someone outside your bubble, you should continue to follow the rules for your area. Dudley, along with Birmingham and the rest of the Black Country is in Tier 3. For full details of restrictions visit www.dudley.gov.uk

Bal Kaur, director of public health, added:

In the last week our covid-19 rates have fallen further to 195 per 100,000 (in the seven day period November 30 to December 6), compared to 304.1 per 100,000 the week before (Nov 22 to 28) and I’d again like to thank everyone for their incredible and continued efforts.
While restrictions are being relaxed, we want people to act responsibly to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
Ideally keep it virtual, as the more people you see, the greater risk of catching or spreading the virus.
But if you are getting together stay safe, keep your house well ventilated and remember Hands. Face. Space is still important.

For government guidance, including information on Christmas bubbles visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Residents and businesses can keep up to date on the council’s response to the covid-19 crisis as well as information on tier 3 restrictions at www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirus

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