Public Health Dorset is urging residents to be cautious when considering forming Christmas bubbles over the festive season to minimise risks to friends and family.
A change in rules over Christmas means that a maximum of three households can form an exclusive Christmas bubble on Christmas Day only.
Rachel Partridge, Assistant Director of Public Health for Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Councils, said: “We are asking people to think very carefully about their Christmas plans. 2020 has been a tough year and we would all love to spend the festive period with loved ones, but it’s important to recognise that COVID-19 is still very much with us.
“Please consider the risks involved to vulnerable people and only form a Christmas bubble if you feel you absolutely need to. Wherever possible, discuss alternatives to meeting up in person as the risks of COVID-19 remain the same during this period.”
If you decide to see loved ones on Christmas Day, Public Health Dorset has some tips on how to celebrate safely:
- Keep your bubble small – the more people in your bubble, the more likely the virus is to spread
- Keep your gatherings short – the more time you spend together, the higher the risk of transmission
- Keep your celebrations local – stay within your town or village and avoid travelling to other areas.
- Think of the most vulnerable and the potential consequences for them of catching COVID-19
- If you can, meet outdoors where the virus doesn’t spread so easily - going for a walk together or exchanging gifts in the garden is a safer option than gathering indoors
- If you are meeting indoors, keep your home ventilated by opening windows to let fresh air in
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Clean frequently touched surfaces like door handles and light switches often
You can find more information about how to celebrate Christmas safely in the Christmas bubble guidance.