Northern Ireland Reduces Previous Five-Day Christmas Bubble Arrangements Down To One Day

Northern Ireland Reduces Five-Day Christmas Bubble Arrangements Down To One Day Due to Virus Concerns.

The Northern Ireland Executive has reduced the original five-day Christmas bubbling arrangements to just one day following concerns over rising Covid-19 cases across the UK and the new virus mutation. The relaxation of the rules means that three households will no longer be able to gather between 23 and 27 December, and can instead only meet on Christmas Day.

The rules do however state that those working on Christmas Day are permitted to rearrange their bubbling day to another date that suits them. Across the UK, people in Scotland, Wales and parts of England not in Tier 4 will only be allowed to mix with two other households on Christmas Day itself. There will be no Christmas bubbling allowed at all in Tier 4 areas of England.

Stormont leaders made the decision during an emergency virtual executive meeting on Sunday evening, Dec. 20, in response to the new variant of coronavirus that has taken hold in London and the South East.

Sinn Fein supported the move however practical issues were raised around how quickly such a ban could be introduced, given the time it would likely take for the Department of Health to draw up regulations to bring it into effect. The DUP position was that UK internal travel is already banned from Tier 4 areas in England, so there is no need for added Stormont legislation to enforce that.

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Tony Winterburn

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