Christmas is going to look very different this year and we must all do our best to enjoy the festivities while keeping our loved ones safe.
From tomorrow (Saturday), North Somerset moves into Tier 2 but this is still ‘high alert’ and residents are still urged to keep up the fight against Covid-19.
Covid-19 continues to circulate in our community and can still be caught by anyone in any setting.
The latest reported rates show the seven-day rate for North Somerset is 125.6 per 100,000, The comparable South West rate is 93.3 and England is 206.6
Restrictions will be relaxed temporarily across the country next week, from Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 December, so that up to three households can form a Christmas ‘bubble’ and mix indoors and stay overnight.
However, the virus is still here, is just as contagious and more mixing could cost lives.
The best gift we can give our loved ones this year is the gift of health.
On Wednesday the Prime Minister urged people to keep celebrations ‘short’ and ‘small’ to reduce the risk of spreading Covid and to ‘think hard’ before meeting friends and family.
The BBC has a short video explaining this.
We must all continue to take personal responsibility to limit the spread of Covid and protect our loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable.
It doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the festive season with our friends and family, though.
Technology gives us opportunities to connect, even if not in person, such as playing games or singing Christmas songs over a video call.
It’s still possible to meet in groups of up to six outside, so you could also get some fresh air together or take a post-Christmas dinner walk with a friend who lives alone.
The risk of spreading or catching the disease outdoors is lower and being out in nature is also hugely beneficial for our mental health.
Many local churches and organisations have moved festive services and events online. Check out the website or social media pages for your favourites to find out if there is anything you can take part in this year.
Lots of communities have also gone the extra mile this year with bigger and brighter Christmas lights displays and advent calendar trails to help lift people’s spirits and get out in the fresh air.
If you decide to create a Christmas bubble, try to keep your distance as much as possible inside, keep surfaces clean and open the windows to increase ventilation.
Keep following the basic advice
We all have the power to reduce the impact of coronavirus if we follow the same basic advice.
Continue to wash your hands, wear a mask if you can and make space, staying at least 2m away from anyone you don’t live with or who isn’t in your support bubble.
Mobile testing units continue to operate at Castlewood, Clevedon, and Locking Road car park, Weston-super-Mare.
During the festive period, the Locking Road centre will be open every day, including all bank holidays.
Clevedon will be open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
For information, advice and signposting to support available for anyone affected by Covid visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/together