Santa’s Grottos and other festive traditions will be allowed to go head this Christmas (Picture: Rex/Getty)
Children will get to meet Santa this Christmas after all – as long as they do not sit on his knee.
No 10 has given the green light for Santa’s Grottos, nativity plays and carol singing to go ahead this year but with Covid-19 restrictions in place.
Guidance published by the Government on Sunday states that several festive traditions will be allowed to take place once England’s national lockdown ends on December 2.
Santa’s Grottos can open in all tiers as long as they are taking place in venues which are allowed to operate under coronavirus restrictions applied to their area.
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The guidance warns that venues should put ‘appropriate Covid-secure measures, including social distancing’ in place and that children must remain at a distance from Father Christmas – meaning they cannot sit on his lap while asking for presents.
Meanwhile, children’s nativity plays will be allowed to go ahead ‘within existing school bubbles’ and avoiding any mixing across groups.
Carol singing will also be permitted to go ahead under certain restrictionss (Picture: Getty)
But parents will only be allowed to attend in tier one and two areas – subject to ‘appropriate safeguards’ in the audience area. Schools in tier three are advised to live-stream or pre-record the performances.
Door-to-door carol singers can also spread their annual cheer – but only in groups of six and they must keep at least two metres away from ‘the threshold of any dwellings’.
Participants are expected to follow social distancing by staying at least two metres apart from anyone who is not from the same household. If there are more than six people, the groups should not mingle or socialise, said No 10.
Indoor singing will also be permitted but only by choirs and with no audience participation, while social distancing must be followed.
For people hoping to get in the festive mood by attending a Christmas market, the Government advises they must check the rules according to their tier.
The festive traditions will be allowed to take place once England’s lockdown ends next week (Picture: AFP)
It states: ‘The rules might be different for indoor shops and open air shops, such as Christmas markets or Christmas tree markets.’
Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, said the news that people can come together to sing outdoors over the festive season ‘will bring comfort and joy to many’.
She said: ‘Advent and Christmas this year will not be the same as previous years but having outdoor congregational singing and indoor carol services with choirs is a reasonable balance and recognises our duty to protect and care for each other.’
The Government previously warned this year ‘cannot be normal’ but hoped by lifting restrictions for five days over the festive period that families will be able to enjoy Christmas together.
However, the foreign secretary warned this morning that the UK could face a third wave of the pandemic if it fails to get the balance of restrictions ‘right’ over Christmas.
Dominic Raab also refused to rule out another national lockdown in the New Year if infection rates spike again following the easing of restrictions.
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