The Scottish Government has today published its Covid-19 guidance for the festive period.
From December 23 to December 27 there will be a limited relaxation of the coronavirus rules to allow people to travel within the UK to spend Christmas together.
These “bubbles” will be limited to a maximum of three households and come with strict advice.
Why has this guidance been published?
The four UK governments have taken the approach to allow household mixing in a bid to combat isolation and loneliness over the festive period.
She said: “So my key message to everyone making plans for Christmas is to be careful.
“The virus won’t be taking the day off and nor should we.
“So before you think about meeting up with friends and family, my advice is to think carefully about if you could celebrate within your own household, without travel or meeting others.”
How many people can meet up?
A maximum of eight people can be included in your Christmas bubble.
Children under the age of 12 do not count towards the total of eight and do not need to physically distance themselves from others.
You should not change the members in your bubble once it has been formed.
Rules for the bubble
If anyone in the bubble tests positive for Covid-19, all members must self-isolate.
You must try and stay 2m away from those outside your household as much as possible.
Bubbles can only gather in a private home where they can meet and stay the night, outdoors, or at a place of worship.
An extended household can meet in line with the normal rules as just one household.
For separated parents, their children can move between their different homes for both supervised and unsupervised visitation.
You should not go to the shops with your bubble.
If you are part of the bubble, you cannot use hotels and other tourist accommodations.
You also cannot visit pubs or other hospitality venues during the bubble period.
Thinking about forming a bubble?
If you are self-isolating or have Covid-19 symptoms you should not be forming a bubble.
Mixing with vulnerable or elderly people should be looked at very closely and only done if risks are considered.
Guidance for shielding people
The advice states: “If you or someone in your family have been informed that you are at highest clinical risk from Covid-19 you should take time to think about what being a bubble means for you.
“Being part of a bubble would involve greater risks for you as you would be increasing the number of people you have contact with. It is important that you do not feel pressured to celebrate the festive season in an environment that makes you anxious.”
Guidance for students
Students who have returned home at the end of term are included in that household.
All students have been offered testing before returning home.
Non-students who live in a shared flat or house are “strongly advised” not to split up and enter separate bubbles over the festive period.
If you do join a different bubble, you should isolate yourself from your flatmates both before and after joining your bubble for around a week.
Travel restrictions will be relaxed from December 23 to December 27 to allow people to travel between local authority areas and across the UK.
If you travel to form a bubble, you must follow the travel rules in that area.
Everyone planning to enter a new region should return home by December 27.
The only exceptions to this are if you are delayed due to travel disruption or ill-health or if you are self-isolating.
These rules include if you are travelling to or from the islands.
Rules for carers
You can still go into another household to provide care and support for a vulnerable person.
If you want to visit a hospital, care home or hospice you should not form a bubble and instead stay within your own household.
You will still be able to visit a person detained in prison.