With the Prime Minister saying that new coronavirus restrictions could be in place for six months, the topic of conversation dominating family WhatsApp chats is whether Christmas could be cancelled or not.
Though Nicola Sturgeon refused to suggest that such a timeline was likely, Scotland’s First Minister did imply that measures which limit social gatherings could be in place for some time.
The latest restrictions have been met with claims that ‘Christmas is cancelled’, but what have the leaders actually said about the rules and the impact they could have on festive celebrations?
What has Boris Johnson said about restrictions and Christmas?
When revealing new measures for England via a pre-recorded message from Number 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson implied that the United Kingdom as a whole was set for a difficult Winter period.
He said, "Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour. If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together. There are unquestionably difficult months to come. And the fight against covid is by no means over."
He also implied that it may be necessary for the measures to be in place for six months, taking us well past 25 December.
On September 10, the Prime Minister said it was “too early to say” whether the rule of six measures could still be in place at Christmas time.
Matt Hancock echoed his leader’s sentiments when he said that gatherings of family would “not necessarily” be able to take place over the Christmas period.
What has Nicola Sturgeon said about restrictions and Christmas?
Restrictions are tighter still in Scotland with no visits to other households indoors allowed from 25 September, aside from limited exceptions.
Ms Sturgeon, however, suggested that rules would “not necessarily” need to be in place for six months, and that restrictions would be reviewed every three weeks.
On the subject of Christmas, the First Minister said it was her hope that there would be a “greater degree of normality" by late December.
Speaking on 21 September, she said that due to the “very uncertain and unpredictable and volatile situation” it would not be possible to “make definitive predictions about Christmas.”
She added, "Christmas really matters to people and we want it to be as normal as possible.
“But we are in a global pandemic and if I was to stand here right now and say categorically that certain things could or couldn’t happen at Christmas I wouldn’t be being fair to people.
“As we get closer to Christmas we will have a better idea of what might be and what might be possible.
“The only thing I can say with I suppose even a smidgeon of certainty right now is that the more we collectively work together to bring it under control right now, perhaps the more prospect there will be of having some greater degree of normality by Christmas. But even that is a statement that is shrouded in some caveats.”
What would Christmas look like under current restrictions?
Current restrictions allow gatherings of six people from two households in Scotland and gatherings of six people from multiple households in England, meaning the Christmas dinner guest list could be looking considerably shorter for most families.
Christmas Eve meetings at the pub could also be impacted, with establishments required to shut their doors at 10pm, while Christmas parties could be a non-starter unless invites are kept to a minimum.
Pantomimes could also be a no-go with theatres across the UK still to reopen following the arrival of the pandemic.