We recognise that the relaxation of restrictions to allow families and friends to come together if absolutely necessary is necessarily limited. The guidelines set out what we think is a proportionate and careful approach to rules around socialising. We cannot ignore the fact that any relaxation of measures carries additional risk, so the temporary easing is about helping people, particularly those who might otherwise be on their own at Christmas.
We have considered the impact of the changes on those working through the festive break as well as on key workers, but, reluctantly, we will not be able to extend that period any further for any particular groups. We appreciate that many people will not be able to celebrate Christmas in their usual way, but we believe that we have put forward a sensible position that will help us through this period, hopefully on the way to greater normality as a result of the vaccinations that will begin soon.