Will families be able to spend Christmas together as normal this year? Everything Boris Johnson has said as second lockdown starts
The second lockdown of 2020 is in full swing as the second wave of coronavirus continues to grip the country.
Although the four-week lockdown is only due to last until December 2, Christmas is still on the horizon and firmly on people’s minds.
With mixing between households banned under the strict new measures, many are wondering if a ‘normal’ festive season spent with family and friends is on the table at all.
Fears have been raised that the lockdown could be extended through December if the infection rate fails to drop enough, with Michael Gove telling Sky News: “We are going to review it on December 2 but we are always driven by what the data shows.”
If the lockdown is not extended, England will most likely revert to the ‘tier system’ of restrictions, which will most likely still be in place over Christmas.
This will see areas being placed into tier one, two or three depending on infection rates.
Despite this, Boris Johnson has said he is "confident" people will "be able to have as normal a Christmas as possible" despite the current lockdown.
Mr Johnson said he has “every confidence” the measures will work so the NHS will not be overwhelmed and the lockdown in England can be eased back into a tiered system on December 2.
The Prime Minister has faced questions over whether he would be able to extend the national restrictions if necessary after 32 Tories defied the whip to vote against the measures.
“The advice I have received suggests that four weeks is enough for these measures to make a real impact,” he told a Downing Street press conference yesterday.
“These rules will expire and on December 2 we plan to move back to a tiered approach. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
“These are difficult times. While it pains me to have to ask once again for so many to give up so much, I know we can get through this.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions this week, Mr Johnson again insisted the new regulations would automatically expire on December 2 and said what happens after that would depend on reducing the R number – the reproduction rate of the virus.
“We will then, I hope very much, be able to get this country going again, to get businesses, to get shops open again in the run-up to Christmas,” he said.
“But that depends on us all doing our bit now to make sure that we get the R down.
“I’ve no doubt that we can, and that we’ll be able to go forward from December 2 with a very, very different approach – but, of course, it will be up to the House of Commons to decide, thereafter, what to do.”
He said the objective is to return to regional restrictions next moth so “people across this country will be able to have as normal a Christmas as possible”.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said having a more normal Christmas is "significantly dependent" on how "successful" the second lockdown is in bringing down Covid-19 levels.
He added: "We've got a completely shared endeavour to knock this thing off its perch.”