THE rules for forming Christmas bubbles in Worcestershire over the festive period have been confirmed by the county's Public Health chief.

It was announced today (Thursday) that Worcestershire will remain in tier two for another two weeks at least following a government review, however the Prime Minister's plan to ease some restrictions over Christmas to enable families to see one another will go ahead.

From next week, households will be able to form a bubble specifically for Christmas consisting of no more than three households.

So what are the Christmas bubble rules?

The Christmas Bubble rules begin on December 23 and continue up to and including December 27.

It means people will be allowed to form one Christmas bubble and see people in that group only for the five-day period.

Up to three households can form a bubble, and people will not be able to change the people in that bubble.

Residents will only be allowed to meet people in their Christmas bubble in a home or place of worship - not in hotels, shops, restaurants or pubs.

People who have coronavirus or are self-isolating cannot form part of a bubble and must continue their 10 days of isolation.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said: "It is very understandable that many people will want to see family over these five days of Christmas.

"We recognise that for some, having this contact will play a role in supporting their mental health and wellbeing.

"What matters now, is that we really consider how essential it is to mix.

"Do we really need to see one another, and can we do it in as safe a way as possible?

"We are still living in restrictions and the virus is still with us in Worcestershire, so we all must continue to play our part in reducing the spread of the virus.

"I'd particularly urge great caution with seeing elderly relatives.

"Any contact with other people increases the risk of you catching or spreading coronavirus and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

"Please think carefully before putting them at risk. If you do meet up, please keep your distance, and do all you can to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

"We hope everyone can enjoy Christmas safely."

Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "The pandemic has been really tough for everyone this year.

"The Christmas bubble gives everyone a little respite and the opportunity to see very limited numbers of family or friends.

"I'd like to remind everyone to please be careful, consider whether mixing with others is really necessary and remember the guidance to protect one another this Christmas."