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Our support to you, your family and friends over Christmas and New Year

We will be answering the Age UK Bury office telephone – 0161 763 9030 - from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm on Tuesday 29th December to Thursday 31st December. From Monday, 4th January, normal service will resume. If we cannot help, we are sure to find someone who can!   

Diana will be running all her online classes as normal on Monday 28th December and Wednesday 30th December. For more details, click here:

Our Keeping in Touch telephone service will continue to call people on Tuesday 29th December to 31st December. From Monday, 4th January, normal service will resume.

The Information & Advice service & The Handyperson Service both close on 23rd December and reopen on 4th January. 

Dougie, our Foot Health Practitioner will be taking appointments for Tuesday 5th January. Each appointment costs £20.Please call in advance to make an appointment. Call 0161 763 9030.

Sue will be taking a well-earning break for Christmas and will resume the online Tai Chi classes from Friday 8th January 2021.

Our activities, our café, our two charity shops and Friends Together are closed until further notice.

Support from our national partner

Both these services continue every day through Christmas and the New Year.

  • The Age UK Advice Line is 0800 678 1602 from 8 am to 7 pm, every day of the year.
  • If you would just like to have a friendly natter with another person, please call The Silver Line 24 hours a day on 0800 470 80 90.

New Coronavirus Christmas rules explained

You will be aware of the sudden changes to government rules about meeting others this Christmas. Our friends at Age UK have produced guidance to explain the changes and what it means to you. I have tweaked it to reflect the rules that apply to the borough of Bury, which is subject to Tier Three rules.

The new rules state that only on 25 December, you can form a 'Christmas bubble' if you live in Bury.

This bubble allows you to join up to two other households just on Christmas day, but the Government has strongly advised that you think carefully about whether this is necessary.

If you do decide to spend time on Christmas day with up to two other households, you can't change them. Your bubble remains the same throughout the day. For example, you can't spend Christmas morning with two households and then the evening with two different households.

Under the Christmas rules you can do the following things with your Christmas bubble:

  • You can spend time in someone from your bubble’s home.
  • You can spend time in someone from your bubble’s garden.
  • You can go to a place of worship such as a church with your Christmas bubble.
  • Spend time in public outdoor spaces or at outdoor events.

All hospitality venues in Bury will remain closed over Christmas.

If you have symptoms, the rules don't change

If you have coronavirus symptoms then the rules don't change – you should still get tested and self-isolate.

You shouldn't be part of a Christmas bubble if you have symptoms.

Are the rules the same for all three tiers?

No, the rules depend on your local alert level. The rules for Christmas only apply to those living in Tiers 1, 2 and 3. Bury and Greater Manchester are in Tier 3.

If you're in Tier 4 you won't be able to form a Christmas bubble or travel outside your local area this festive season. 

I'm already in a support bubble or childcare bubble. Will this affect my Christmas bubble?

If you're already part of a support bubble then you and the people in this bubble will count as one household and can meet with up to two other households.

However, if you're in a childcare bubble, you and the others in this bubble will count as separate households if you're in the same Christmas bubble and will still be limited to a maximum of three households.

Can I see people that aren't in my Christmas bubble?

You can't spend time indoors with anyone that isn't in your Christmas bubble.

You can see friends and family you do not live with in a group of up to 6 in some outdoor public places such as parks

Can I travel to form a Christmas bubble?

You can travel to form your Christmas bubble. However, the Government are advising people to remain local and to avoid travelling from higher to lower tiers where possible.

Can I stay overnight during the Christmas period?

You can't stay overnight with your Christmas bubble.

How can I avoid catching coronavirus this Christmas?

As the lockdown measures are eased for the day there is an increased risk of the virus spreading. So, before forming a Christmas bubble, it's important to think through the risks and what you can do to stay as safe as possible.

So what can you do to help reduce the risk?

  • You, and the people in your Christmas bubble, should do what they can to reduce their exposure to coronavirus in the two weeks leading up to 25 December. This means avoiding busier places and limiting who you see – no matter what tier you're in.
  • Also, limit who you spend time with after 25 December to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading after Christmas.
  • Where you are spending time with others, you may want to consider keeping it shorter and avoiding staying overnight.
  • Although 3 households are allowed to meet, keeping the total number of people low will reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Keep washing your hands regularly and avoid sharing food and drinks.
  • If you're spending time indoors, keep the space as well ventilated as possible by opening doors and windows – it’s better to have the windows open and the woolly jumpers on if you can!
  • You should also continue to keep your distance, try to ensure people are as spaced out as possible.

Can I form a Christmas bubble if I'm extremely clinically vulnerable?

Everyone can form a Christmas bubble, even if you're extremely clinically vulnerable. However, doing so might carry a higher risk. It's a good idea to think about the possible risks and what's best for you. This is a personal decision, and you should only do what you feel comfortable with.

If you do decide to form a Christmas bubble, you may decide to limit the number of people you spend time with and consider meeting up with just one other household instead of two. Or you may want to join up with smaller households rather than households with large numbers of people. The fewer people you interact with, the lower your risk of catching coronavirus.

You might also want to consider who's in your bubble and how likely they are to have come into contact with the virus in the run up to Christmas. For example, people with public-facing jobs or those who have had a lot of social contact in the two weeks before may be at higher risk of spreading the virus.

When spending time with those in your Christmas bubble you should try to socially distance and avoid physical contact. Everyone should make sure they wash their hands regularly and wipe down surfaces that are touched regularly, such as surfaces and door handles. You should also keep the space ventilated where possible by opening doors and windows – just keep an eye on the temperature. If it would make you more comfortable, you and those in your Christmas bubble could wear face coverings.

You might also want to consider meeting people outdoors rather than seeing them inside. Or keeping visits short – spending a few hours together is much less of a risk than spending several days in each other’s company

My relative is in a care home. Can they be part of a Christmas bubble?

Government guidance outlines that only those of working age (under State Pension age) in a care home can consider leaving their care home to be part of a Christmas bubble. This will also need to be agreed by the care home who should undertake an individual risk assessment. More information can be found here.

If it's not possible for your relative to leave their care home and become part of your Christmas bubble, it's advisable to speak to the care home about what other options may be available.

More guidance

There are some questions you should think about when planning this Christmas. Click onto

The Government’s page on Christmas Bubbles is here:

Don't Dispair! 

If you are feeling glum, please remember that history shows us that plagues and pandemics always come to an end. Some ended long before we had vaccines to respond to them. A year ago nobody had heard of Covid-19. It was only reported to the World Health Organisation on 3rd January 2020 but in less than a year, we now have approved and tested vaccines being distributed to older people in Bury. This represents one of mankind’s great achievements and gives us all hope that an end to this pandemic is now in sight.