One in five will struggle to follow Christmas lockdown rules

Boris Johnson - Matt Dunham /AP Pool
Boris Johnson – Matt Dunham /AP Pool

One in five adults believe it will be hard to follow Government rules over Christmas, with young people finding it difficult to choose between family and friends. 

The data, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed that just over half (56 per cent) of adults in Great Britain felt it was very easy or easy to understand rules for forming a Christmas bubble. 

However, around two in 10 adults reported that they felt it was very difficult or difficult, and 19 per cent felt it was neither easy nor difficult.

Under current Government guidelines, between 23 and 27 December, up to three households in a “Christmas bubble” can mix indoors and stay overnight.

The ONS data covers the period from December 10 to 13 and seeks to understand the impact of the pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain.

Responding to the figures, Tim Vizard, principal research officer at the ONS, said: “This week, we found that around half of adults planned to form a Christmas bubble. 

“However we can see that, even before the updated guidance about socialising over Christmas, people were already making significant changes to the way they normally celebrate Christmas. 

“This included lower proportions of adults planning to stay overnight with others, travel overseas and travel by public transport compared to last year.”

Among all adults who felt it would be very difficult or difficult, the most frequent reason reported for this was finding it difficult to choose between friends or family (46 per cent) or to stick to a bubble of only three exclusive households (also 46 per cent).

Just over a third of these adults reported that they felt it would be difficult as they wanted to see family or friends on dates other than between 23 and 27 December (36 per cent) or that they felt there would be an impact on their wellbeing 34 per cent.

Around 60 per cent of adults aged between 16 and 29 years who felt it would be very difficult or difficult to follow the rules reported this was because they would find it difficult to choose between friends or family. 

This proportion was smaller among older age groups: 52 per cent of adults aged 30 to 49 years; 29 per cent of adults aged 50 to 69 years; and 34 per cent of adults aged 70 years and above reported this.

Researchers also found that 50 per cent of adults said they will form a Christmas bubble, compared to 38 per cent who won’t and 12 per cent who don’t know.

The ONS data comes as Boris Johnson tweeted a message, urging them to start cutting down on seeing others from outside their household, if they are going to take advantage of the Christmas rules relaxation.

The Prime Minister said: “If you are forming a Christmas Bubble, it’s vital that from today, you minimise contact with people from outside your household.

“Everyone must take personal responsibility to avoid passing the virus on to loved ones this Christmas.”

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