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Lockdown 2020 – How is Christmas Being Celebrated Around the World?

Lockdown 2020 – How is Christmas Being Celebrated Around the World?
21 December 2020

After parts of Britain were placed into a stricter lockdown at the weekend, preventing usual Christmas meetings, what will Christmas Day look like in other countries?

England – Tier 4 to “Stay at Home”


Throughout London and other areas of Southeast England, a new stricter Tier 4 is now in place. 

Due to the new variant of COVID-19 which could be up to 7 per cent more transmissible than the previous wave of infection, those living in Tier 4 may not leave their house unless they have “a reasonable excuse”. Households may not mix, including over the Christmas period (excluding support bubbles). Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household.

Effectively, this means that for most households in this new tier, Christmas will not go ahead in the expected traditional way. Those in lower-tiered areas are permitted to mix in a “Christmas Bubble” on 25 December only, with a maximum of two other households.


Scotland and Wales – New Guidance Issued


In a similar move to England, following confirmation that the new variant of COVID-19 spreads substantially more quickly, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made several changes to the original five day Christmas bubble window.

The planned easing of restrictions will not only occur on Christmas day itself, and the legal household limits are a maximum of eight people from three households - however advice is to minimise the numbers. 

However, where possible, people are being advised to celebrate the festive period at home in their own household and meet with others outdoors.

Travel within Scotland is to be permitted on Christmas Day, and from Boxing Day onwards, all of Scotland will have Level 4 restrictions applied, including the closure of non-essential retail and hospitality. 

Similarly, Wales is allowing two households to come together to form a “Christmas Bubble” on 25 December only, but travel through the UK on this one day is permitted.


France – Christmas Eve Curfew Lifted


Traditionally, the main day for family festivities in France is on 24 December, as loved ones gather to share a le Réveillon de Noël celebratory meal. Therefore, France’s strict 8 pm to 6 am curfew is being relaxed on that evening only.

Travel between French regions is currently permitted, and there are no limits on staying with people in holiday homes or hotels. However, the rule of six must be abided by when meeting in private places, although this is a recommendation rather than a legislative rule. 


Christmas meal Turkey

Picture: a photograph of a table with some Christmas food, including a turkey. Two people are clinking glasses of wine


USA – Colour-Coded Systems 


According to Forbes, 28 states still don’t have any travel restrictions in place, and there continues to be no consistency across the travel restrictions which are in place. Some quarantine conditions specify mandatory isolation, other sare voluntary. Other require negative COVID tests as a way to be released from self-isolation, some ask for the full fourteen days, regardless of test results.

In Illinois for example, travel into state capital Chicago is now categorised into three levels of risk: red, orange or yellow. Anyone arriving from a red state must quarantine for fourteen days, those from an orange must have a negative COVID test, or observe the same quarantine, and those from yellow states are not bound to any restrictions.


Greece – Nine Person Limit


Greek Government Spokesperson Stelios Petsas recently Monday announced some new household gathering restrictions for Christmas. This includes a rule where no more than nine people (from a maximum of two households) are allowed to gather in the same house, meaning a low-key and small Christmas for many families in Greece.

The country is also currently operating under a nationwide nighttime curfew between 10 pm-5 am.

Picture: a photograph of a person on a video call, standing in front of a Christmas tree

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 21 December 2020


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