Households will be able to mix over Christmas
All four UK nations have agreed a joint approach to the rules which will allow up to three households to form a ‘Christmas bubble’ from 23-27 December.
The government confirmed people will also be able to travel between tiers and across the whole of the UK without restriction over the five-day period.
However, those travelling to and from Northern Ireland will be allowed an extra travel day on either side of those dates.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, said: “The UK-wide agreement will offer hope for families and friends who have made many sacrifices over this difficult year.
“We know that the Christmas period this year will not be normal, but following constructive discussions between the UK government and the devolved administrations, families and friends will now have the option to meet up in a limited and cautious way across the UK should they wish.
“In coming to this agreement, we have listened to scientific and clinical advice on how best to minimise the risk and reach a balanced and workable set of rules that we hope will allow people to spend time together at this important time of year.”
Each administration will clarify their own rules on support bubbles and extended households in due course. In England, support bubbles will continue to be counted as one household.
Christmas bubbles will be able to gather in private homes, attend places of worship together and meet in outdoor public places.