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Bristol leaders share message of thanks ahead of festive period

City leaders have come together to thank local people for helping drive down COVID-19 infections in Bristol and also urge caution during the festive season, so that everyone can have a safe Christmas and New Year.

The statement below has been updated following changes to Christmas guidance that were announced by the government on Saturday 19 December.

It was announced by the government on Thursday 17 December that Bristol will move from Tier 3 (very high) to Tier 2 (high) at 00.01 on Saturday 19 December, which will see some restrictions in the city eased.

People will still not be able to meet inside with people they don’t live with, or have a support bubble with, however restaurants and pubs serving food can reopen, as can entertainment venues, tourist attractions, and sports venues.  

Furthermore, on Christmas Day, social contact restrictions will be relaxed by the government to allow people of all faiths to come together. On 25 December, people who do not live in a Tier 4 area can form exclusive Christmas bubbles and socialise indoors with up to two other households.

Bristol’s city leaders and health and community experts, who are working together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, have urged people to remember the number of infections in the city is still high and we should therefore all be cautious about who we meet over Christmas to prevent the virus spreading further.

“This year turned out to be an extraordinarily challenging and unusual time and, unfortunately, we’re not quite out of the woods yet. However, the distribution of the vaccine to the elderly and most vulnerable certainly provides light at the end of a long tunnel and I hope that in the coming months, life will start to return to normal for us all.

“Over the last nine months, I have been overwhelmed with the efforts of local people and the sacrifices so many of you have made, and you all deserve a massive thank you. I know communities and businesses have found this year exceptionally hard but we need to uphold our determination over Christmas the New Year and into 2021 to further prevent the transmission of the virus. While trying to enjoy the festive period, we must exercise extreme caution, stay local and take personal responsibility over Christmas.”

PCC Sue Mountstevens

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, added: “This year has hugely challenged and affected us all. I know for many, Christmas will shine some light on a very difficult and dark period and I hope you are able to celebrate safely with your loved ones.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to people across the city for their role in protecting Bristol and each other. It’s not been easy and you have made sacrifice after sacrifice. However it’s important for us to all remember that the virus hasn’t gone away, and we still need to be cautious over Christmas. You don’t have to meet up with other households if you don’t want to, and we still must be vigilant about protecting elderly or vulnerable friends and family from COVID-19.”

“Our spirits have been uplifted with news of the vaccine and we continue to support the NHS with the roll out in Bristol. However, it’s vital we take personal responsibility over the Christmas period to avoid another significant peak in infections in January, so please remember: hands, face, space, and ventilate enclosed areas to minimise risk of spread.

“You may also want to consider staying at home and reducing your contact with others as much as possible after seeing people from another household so that if you have been in contact with COVID-19, you are at a reduced risk of spreading it to others.

“Please celebrate safely, especially with those who are vulnerable, and have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.”

Director of Public Health for Bristol Christina Gray

Bristol City Council’s freephone We Are Bristol helpline will remain open for emergencies, for those who need urgent help accessing food or collecting prescriptions (from 10am to 2pm on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 27 and 28 December).”

On Christmas Day, you are permitted to travel to Tier areas 1, 2 and 3 to meet your ‘Christmas bubble’, but you must not join a ‘Christmas bubble’ with anyone from a Tier 4 area. You should stay local where possible, and avoid travelling from a high prevalence to a low prevalence area. 

From 26 December, you must follow the guidance for the Tier in your area, including on New Year’s Eve.

You can read the full government guidance for Christmas and New Year here.