The Scottish Government has now published its guidance in full about what you can and cannot do over the festive period. 

Up to three households will be allowed to mix over a five-day festive period between December 23 and 27, and travelling between council areas is also permitted during that time period, so that families spread across Scotland and the UK can form a "Christmas bubble".

You can read the full details regarding the rules at Christmas, now officially set out by the Scottish Government, below.

What’s the safest way to spend Christmas and the festive period?

According to Scottish Government guidance, the safest way to spend Christmas is to refrain from forming a 'Christmas bubble' despite the easing of restrictions, and to stay within your own household, in your own home and in your local area. 

However, guidance has nonetheless been provided to set "outer-boundary limits" for over the Christmas period.

What is a "Christmas bubble" and what are the rules?

Between 23 – 27 December inclusive, you can form a bubble of up to three households (or extended households).

However, it is recommended that those planning to form a bubble should limit their social contact with others as much as possible before and after forming a bubble to minimise transmission risks and to protect your loved ones. 

The Government has also recommended that bubbles are kept to a maximum of eight people, although children under the age of 12 do not count and need not maintain physical distance from others.

Crucially, the members of your bubble should not change once it has been formed, meaning you cannot spend a day with two other households one day and two different households the next.

You should remain 2m away from people outside of your household as much as possible, and if anyone in the bubble contracts Covid-19, all members of the bubble will be required to isolate for 14 days.

- Can children go between households if parents live apart?

Where parents do not live in the same household, children can move between their parents’ homes in different bubbles, and this includes both supervised and unsupervised visitation.

- Do students coming home count as different households?

Students who have returned home at the end of term form part of the household they have returned to.  All students are being offered testing before returning home. Guidance on students returing home.

- I live in a shared flat, are we one household or can we go to different bubbles?

People (other than students) who live in a shared flat or house are considered a household and our strong advice is that households should  not split up and enter separate bubbles over the festive period.  If you do join different bubbles you should isolate from your flatmates both before and after joining your bubble for around a week.  

- What about extended households?

An extended household can meet in line with the normal rules as just one household.

- I have previously been advised to shield, can I form a bubble?

Being part of a bubble would involve greater risks for you as you would be increasing the number of people you have contact with, but it is up to the individual. 

The Scottish Government has also said that everyone in the bubble should agree what steps to take in the run up to the festive period, and during the festive bubble period, so that those at highest clinical risk are kept safe.

- If I form a bubble can I continue to visit people in hospital, hospice or a care home?

Forming a bubble increases the risk that you will be exposed to Covid-19 and could pass it on to other people, and people in care homes, hospitals and hospices can be particularly vulnerable.

Therefore the safest way to spend Christmas if you want to visit someone in a care home, hospital or hospice would be to stay within your own household and not form a bubble with any other household.

And while under the normal rules you can already provide care to someone in their home, without forming a bubble, the Scottish Government has stressed that it is important to consider the risks and consider avoiding mixing to reduce the risk of passing on the virus to older, and therefore more vulnerable, people. 

- Can I visit someone in prison or detention?

You will still be able to visit a person detained in prison, young offenders institute, remand centre, secure accommodation or other place of detention. 

What are the travel rules for Christmas? 

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 you should minimise stop-offs during journeys except where necessary for safety and respite, and follow the Scottish Government’s guidance on travelling safely. 

If you travel to form a bubble, once you arrive you must follow the rules about travel that apply in that local authority area.  

- What if there are travel delays or cancellations meaning I cannot return home on 27th December?

You should return home by the 27th. The only exception to this is where you are delayed as a result of travel disruption or ill-health, including self-isolating following a positive covid test or as a contact of someone who has had a positive test.  

- Can my bubble stay in tourist accommodation?

During the Christmas period those who are part of a bubble should not stay in tourist accommodation.  Only those not part of a bubble should plan on staying in tourist accommodation and should follow the tourist accommodation, socialising and travel rules in the local authority area you are staying.

Where can a bubble meet?

Bubbles can only gather in a private home - where they can meet or stay the night - outdoors, or at a place of worship. 

In all other settings, such as hospitality, leisure or entertainment venues - indoors or outdoors - those who have formed a bubble should remain within their own household and not mix with others. 

- If I have formed a bubble can we go to hospitality?

Those who have formed a bubble should only socialise in a hospitality, leisure or entertainment venue in your own household (or extended household) for the duration of the festive period.

Socialising and opening hours for pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are as per the local authority protection levels that the venue is situated in.

- If I have formed a bubble can we go to worship together?

Whilst bubbles are permitted to gather in a place of worship during the Christmas period, places of worship are required to take measures to protect individuals, worshippers, staff members and volunteers from infection by COVID-19.  Indoor acts of worship are limited to a maximum of 50 people in levels 0 – 3 and 20 in level 4 providing there is sufficient space to maintain 2 metre distancing. Where that is not possible capacity will be reduced. 

- Can I go to the shops with my bubble?

No - Retail premises could be busier than normal in the days leading up to Christmas.  You should try to avoid times when shops will be busy.  Where possible you should shop on your own, or only with children or those who need support, shop local, and use Click and Collect or Delivery services.

I don’t want to form a bubble, what rules apply to me?

A person or household who decide not to form a bubble should follow the rules in place for the local authority area they live in.

If someone in the bubble develops Covid-19 Symptoms what should I do?

If someone in your bubble develops symptoms, to avoid spreading the virus all members of the bubble must isolate immediately if they met the symptomatic person at any time between 2 days before and up to 10 days after their symptoms started.

If the symptomatic person tests positive, all members of the bubble must isolate for 14 days from the start of symptoms or from when the most recent contact took place. Isolate means staying in your own home or the home you are staying in for the full 14 days.

If you are currently isolating as a close contact, or if you have had a positive test and have not completed your isolation period - you should not mix with others outside your immediate household. 

Those with Covid symptoms are told to isolate and book a test.