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COVID-19 Update 4th December 2020

  • DCMS Clarification

DCMS has sent through a clarification associated with the Christmas guidance

    • Christmas hotel measures

We want to provide further clarity on the Christmas exemption for hotels and other accommodation that are allowed to open between 22 and 28 December 2020. Accommodation may open during this period for people to stay in order to be located near their Christmas bubbles.

The regulations state under the closure of holiday accommodation:  (5) Sub-paragraph (1) does not apply during the period beginning with 22nd December 2020 and ending with 28th December 2020. 

This exemption allows individuals and households to travel into and out of Tier 3 on the 22nd December to stay at a hotel or other accommodation and leave on the 28th December to travel home. However people travelling on the 22nd December must not see their Christmas bubble until the 23rd December when the Christmas period begins. “Christmas period” means the period beginning with 23rd December 2020 and ending with 27th December 2020 when people are allowed to meet their Christmas bubble. Likewise people travelling home from the hotel or other accommodation provider on the 28th December must not meet with their Christmas bubble again after the 27th.


  • Intra-UK travel

Guidance on travel between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has been published, including for the Christmas period:


  • Under current Scottish regulations, unless people have a reasonable excuse, they must not travel between Scotland and England, Northern Ireland, Ireland or Wales.
  • This applies to people who live in Scotland and to people who live in any of these countries who are thinking of coming to Scotland.
  • These rules will be kept under review and if the prevalence of the virus in all, or part of, any of these countries reduces it may be possible to relax these restrictions for some areas.
  • Travel restrictions will be relaxed from 23 – 27 December (inclusive) to allow people to travel between local authority areas and the four nations of the UK to join their bubble.
  • Those travelling to or from the Scottish Islands should do so within the 5 day period, 23 – 27 December.  While travelling people should minimise stop-offs during journeys except where necessary for safety and respite.
  • If people are travelling to form a bubble, once they arrive they must follow the rules about travel that apply in that local authority area.



  • New travel guidance has been issued on Thursday strongly advising people in Wales not to travel to other parts of the UK with lower levels of coronavirus – Tier 1 and 2 areas in England or level one and two areas in Scotland – to help control the spread of the virus.
  • The law banning all but essential travel between England and Wales is being lifted from 6pm on Friday, December 4.
  • Travel between Wales and areas of the UK with highest rates of coronavirus in England’s Tier 3, the whole of Northern Ireland and Scotland’s Tiers 3 and 4 will still not be allowed from 6pm on Friday, December 4.
  • People will be allowed to travel to areas with a lower prevalence of Coronavirus in Tiers 1 and 2 in England and Scotland – although they are being urged not to.
  • Travel restrictions will be relaxed between 23 and 27 December so people can travel anywhere within the UK for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
  • People should meet their Christmas bubble within the designated window (23-27 December). Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may also travel in order to meet with their bubble from 22 to 28 December.


Northern Ireland

  • People should avoid all unnecessary travel.
  • Where travel is necessary for work, education and other essential purposes, people are asked to walk, cycle or use private transport, shared only with members of their household where possible.
  • Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December.


  • Test and Trace Feedback

The NHS Covid-19 App has been available to the public since 24th September 2020. Since the app’s launch, DHSC has continued to make improvements including the recent technological upgrade to Google and Apple’s latest API. DHSC are keen for observations and feedback on the user experience – particularly on how the tourism sector is using and engaging the app. They would be interested in your views, and below are a few questions to guide reflections on feedback:

  • What impressions do you have of app uptake and use in your sector?
  • What might be preventing people from downloading it, if they haven’t already?
  • What ideas or suggestions do you have on how the App or surrounding communications could be improved?

You can send suggestions and questions to –


  • Quarantine Exemption for Senior Executives

Following on from the item in yesterday’s update regarding the ability for senior executives to leave quarantine if they are providing significant economic benefit for the UK, the Government has now published guidance on how this scheme will operate. Potentially qualifying activity includes:

    • Attending a board meeting where the meeting is to take a decision on whether or not to make a new investment in a UK plant.
    • Discussing a business idea where a substantial business plan has been previously developed making clear plans to set up a business and create over 50 jobs in the UK in the next year and investor needs to decide which of 2 UK sites to purchase
    • Attending a company site/s to inform a decision whether or not to continue to invest in the site.
    • A site inspection to decide whether or not to place a very large new order or contract with the company visited
    • A site visit by a potential investor to see the operations of a company to enable them to decide at the end of the visit whether or not to invest in that company.
    • A senior executive returns to the UK after undertaking a trip necessary for the ongoing business operations of his UK based firm and is personally needed to attend an urgent meeting with a potential investor in the same UK based firm who needs to visit a company site with the executive in the immediate future to enable them to decide whether or not to invest


  • Additions to Travel Exemption List

The list of jobs that are exempt from self-isolation or passenger locator form requirements associated with entering the UK from non-air corridor countries has been expanded to include senior executives (as discussed above), journalists, newly signed elite sportspersons, performing arts professionals, those in television production.


  • R Number and Growth Rate

As usual for Friday, we have the latest R number and Growth Rate figures, which this week are 0.8-1.0 and -3% to -1% respectively.  Again this is slightly lower than the previous week and the lowest rates for both figures since mid- August.
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