Here's what Boris Johnson said as he admits 'Christmas cannot be normal'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that lockdown will end on December 2 and that "Christmas cannot be normal” as he warns families to make “careful judgements” about visiting elderly relatives.

Monday, 23rd November 2020, 5:06 pm

Boris Johnson set out his Covid-19 winter strategy in the House of Commons on Monday, November 23, during which he confirmed that England’s lockdown will end on Wednesday, December 2.

He also revealed that the Government is working with the devolved nations across the UK to introduce a “time-limited” reduction in the rules over the Christmas period.

The PM said families will need to make a “careful judgement” about visiting elderly relatives over Christmas.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that lockdown in England will end on December 2. Photo: PA.

He told MPs: “This virus is obviously not going to grant a Christmas truce, it doesn’t know it’s Christmas and families will need to make a careful judgement about the risk of visiting elderly relatives.

“We will be publishing guidance for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable on how to manage the risks in each tier as well as over Christmas.

“I can’t say that Christmas will be normal this year, but in a period of adversity time spent with loved ones is even more precious for people of all faiths and none.

“We all want some kind of Christmas, we need it, we certainly feel we deserve it. But what we don’t want is to throw caution to the winds and allow the virus to flare up again, forcing us all back into lockdown in January.

“So to allow families to come together, while minimising the risk, we’re working with the devolved administrations on a special time-limited Christmas dispensation, embracing the whole of the United Kingdom.”

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Live updates as Boris Johnson announces that England’s Covid lockdown will end o...

Following the end of lockdown next week, non-essential retail, gyms and the leisure industry will be allowed to reopen across the country.

Here are the key points from Mr Johnson’s statement to the Commons.

*Meeting family and friends

The rule of six will return, with variations on whether socialising can take place indoors or outdoors depending on the tier.

In Tier 1 – medium alert – people will be able to meet in groups of six indoors and outdoors, while in Tier 2 – high alert – socialising with five others will only be allowed outdoors.

In Tier 3, the highest alert level, groups of six will only be able to meet in outdoor public spaces, such as parks and sports courts – but not in private gardens.

*Pubs, bars and restaurants

Hospitality will be closed except for takeaway in areas under Tier 3 restrictions, but the rules are slightly more relaxed for Tiers 1 and 2.

In Tier 2, hospitality must close unless it is operating as a restaurant, and alcohol can only be served with a substantial meal.

In Tier 1, venues must be table service only. The 10pm curfew will be replaced with a last orders call at 10pm, and venues must close at 11pm, for Tier 1 and 2.

*Shops, entertainment and hairdressers

In every tier, retail and personal care – such as hairdressers and beauty salons – can reopen.

Indoor entertainment venues – such as cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys and casinos – will be allowed to stay open in Tiers 1 and 2, but not Tier 3.

*Weddings, funerals and worship

Weddings and civil partnerships can resume but with only 15 guests, though wedding receptions are banned in Tier 3.

Thirty people will be allowed to attend funerals, but only 15 will be able to attend a wake.

Places of worship can reopen in all tiers for collective worship, but in Tiers 2 and 3 people must not interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

*Gyms and exercise

Gyms and swimming pools will be able to reopen in all tiers.

In Tier 1, classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but must follow the rule of six indoors.

Indoor classes and organised adult sport cannot take place in Tier 2 or 3 if there is interaction with different households.

In Tier 3, classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but people are advised to avoid higher-risk contact activity.

*Elite sport and live performances

Large events – such as theatre and spectator sport – will be permitted in Tiers 1 and 2, but with reductions on capacity.

In Tier 3, they will still be banned but drive-in events will be permitted.


The Government is working on a time-limited Christmas dispensation with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr Johnson said Christmas would not be “normal” this year but recognised that “time spent with loved ones is even more precious for people of all faiths and none” in a period of adversity.

Plans are expected to be finalised later this week.

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