People in Lancashire and across the country are warned not to expect a 'normal' Christmas in 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The grim warning was made by a Cabinet minister today (October 23) as he said most people should expect the festive season this year to be different from previous ones.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay, speaking as millions more people across Britain joined Lancashire and Liverpool City Region under sweeping new restrictions, said he hoped families could be together over the festive season.
Lancashire has been Under Tier 3 rules for nearly a week, with the tough measures being imposed on the Liverpool City Region just days earlier.
Households are banned from mixing in any indoor setting under the new rules, unless part of their social bubble.
And the rules raise questions on whether families will be able to see each other this Christmas season as the bid to drive Covid-19 cases down continues.
In Lancashire, the Tier 3 rules are set to be reviewed after 14 days since they came into force - but they could be imposed for longer is cases continue to spike amid the second wave of the virus.
Greater Manchester moved into the highest alert level, Tier 3, on Friday morning, and Wales was introducing its two-week “firebreak” lockdown at 6pm.
Elsehwere Coventry, Stoke and Slough will enter Tier 2 on Saturday, while talks between Westminster and civic leaders in Nottingham over possible Tier 3 restrictions were continuing on Friday.
Asked how he would describe the chances of people having a “normal Christmas” despite Covid-19 restrictions, Mr Barclay told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I would describe it as a shared endeavour for all of us.
“All of us want to be able to enjoy Christmas with our families. And that’s why there is a common purpose here to get the virus down.”
Referring to Christmas, Mr Barclay said: “I think few people expect it to be exactly as it would normally because we will be living with this virus for some time.
“And the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser have been very clear on that.
“But, your point really was about the ability of families to spend Christmas together – that is something we all hope to be in a position to do.”
Under Tier 3 measures in Lancashire, pubs and bars have been ordered to close, unless they are serving substantial meals, along with casinos, bingo halls and bookies.
Mr Sunak announced an emergency multibillion-pound bailout on Thursday aimed at supporting workers and firms through the second coronavirus wave.