Following a Government announcement on Saturday 19 December, parts of East Sussex (Hastings and Rother) were put under Tier 4: Stay at Home restrictions. In Tier 4 you must stay at home as much as possible and there can be no mixing of households at Christmas.
The rest of East Sussex remains in Tier 2 and Christmas bubbles may now only meet on Christmas day.
With the virus spreading rapidly, East Sussex Public Health are asking us all to consider how essential mixing households is this Christmas. Could we restrict the contact we have with friends and family even further to stop the spread of the virus?
Instead of mixing households to exchange presents and share Christmas dinner could we do it virtually this year instead? Could we check in on loved ones with a phone call?
Take extra care of your bubble
If you are able to form a Christmas bubble, here are some things you should to take extra care.
- Keep it small. Keep it to as few people as possible and certainly not more than three households. Where possible reducing your contact with other people in the days before is also a good idea.
- Limit the length of time you spend indoors. According to scientists there is much evidence that transmission of the virus takes place at home. Whether with your family or other households in your Christmas bubble the more time you spend in close quarters the higher the risk of spreading any virus. When you’re somewhere that feels familiar you often feel safe, when in fact, it is still risky. If you can be outdoors that’s a better idea and if you can’t, keeping your house well ventilated will help lessen the risk.
- Time to pull out the spare chairs and bring in the garden table! You might not need all the spare chairs and tables this Christmas but think about seating and space when meeting indoors. Where possible try to keep a bit of distance between households and take special care to protect people who are particularly vulnerable.
- It’s everyone’s responsibility. Talk to friends and family to collectively come up with a plan that everyone is comfortable with so you can share responsibility, and all keep each other safe.
These tips are based on 10 principles for limiting the spread of the virus between households shared by Dr Harry Rutter, Professor of Global Public Health, at the University of Bath. You can read more about these tips and other ways to stay safe from Professor Jackie Cassell at JackieCassell.com.
Know the rules around Christmas bubbles?
The rules on forming and using a Christmas bubble will be the law so you must follow them to minimise the spread of infection.
Everyone can form a Christmas bubble but there are three main rules:
- you can only be in one Christmas bubble
- you cannot change your Christmas bubble
- your Christmas bubble should not include people from more than three households
- your Christmas bubble should not include anyone from a Tier 4 area
It is also important that you keep your Christmas bubble as small as possible.
Within your Christmas bubble you should keep taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus, not least because the virus spreads more easily indoors. Ensure indoor spaces get as much fresh air as possible, wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds, and follow the rules on self-isolation if you develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus.
If you get Covid-like symptoms, even a mild cough, please self-isolate and book a free test. There are plenty of tests available and you can have the results within 48 hours. If you test positive, you and anyone you live with must self-isolate for 10 days. Take a look at how else you can stay safe in the lead up to Christmas.