Covid: What are the social distancing rules this Christmas?

People in Scotland are being strongly advised to limit contacts with other households in the run-up to Christmas.
The new guidance comes as concerns grow over the Omicron variant of Covid, which has led to the cancellation of a number of festive events.
The Scottish government had already urged workers to forego work Christmas parties, and has now also asked people to limit time spent with other households.
Where families do plan on socialising together – either at home or in indoor public places – they are asked asked to limit social contact to two other households either side of Christmas.
This will not be a legal requirement, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said people should "not think of it as optional".
While the Scottish government is not asking people to change their main celebratory plans – either on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day – and places of worship will remain open, new "strong" guidance is being issued:
Care home residents will only be able to see people from two households in a single visit, and hospital patients will only be able to have two visitors at a time.
In addition, businesses will also have a legal requirement to minimise the risk of Covid transmission.
Detailed guidance for different sectors will be published shortly. Ms Sturgeon said it could mean that shops will need to bring back physical distancing and protective screens, while pubs and restaurants will need to take measures to prevent over-crowding.
Face coverings are already compulsory in most public indoor settings, such as shops and on public transport – as well as in pubs and restaurants when not seated.
All over-18s are required to prove their vaccine status at nightclubs and other venues.
Earlier this month, Dr Jenny Harries, head of the UK Health Security Agency, said we shouldn't be socialising "when we don't particularly need to".
When the government recently brought in new restrictions in England, it didn't reintroduce limits on socialising. But it has strengthened its advice that people should take lateral flow tests before attending any indoor gathering.
It also reintroduced compulsory face coverings for most indoor spaces (although not pubs and restaurants).
Large groups can still hold parties in houses, bars, nightclubs or karaoke venues. Schools are allowed to hold events for parents if they wish.
The government's Winter Plan for England says that meeting outdoors is safer, but recommends plenty of ventilation if you are mixing indoors.
It says people should still "consider the risks of close contact", particularly if someone is clinically extremely vulnerable, or not fully vaccinated.
Government guidance also says: "You should still continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet."
From Wednesday 15 December – if agreed in Parliament – some venues and events in England will be legally required to check the Covid status of over-18s.
Wales' health minister Eluned Morgan said she does not want to "cancel" Christmas, but cannot rule out the need for tougher restrictions.
At the moment, there is no limit to the number of people who can meet indoors or outdoors. But businesses have to carry out their own risk assessments for venues and premises.
Face coverings remain compulsory in most indoor public places, and on public transport – but not in pubs and restaurants.
The NHS Covid Pass is needed for entry to nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls and many other indoor and outdoor events.
There's no requirement to socially distance outside.
A maximum of 30 people from an unlimited number of households can meet indoors in domestic settings. Social distancing should be maintained as much as possible.
Shops must take "reasonable measures to manage risk" and shoppers are asked to maintain physical distance with each other where possible.
Face coverings are compulsory in shops, indoor seated venues and visitor attractions, public transport and some other settings – unless you are exempt.
Vaccine passports are required for venues including nightclubs, bars and cinemas.
Coronavirus spreads mainly when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks – sending small droplets, packed with the virus, into the air.
The further apart people are, the lower the risk of the infection spreading.
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