Christmas tree sales to go ahead despite lockdown

By Lucy Webster
BBC Politics

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image copyrightPA Media

Family get-togethers may be in doubt but you should still be able to buy a Christmas tree in the run up to the festive season.

The government has changed lockdown rules so that tree farms and sellers can open from Saturday in England.

What will become of other Christmas traditions remains to be seen.

The Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and Westminster governments are still discussing how to allow families to meet while controlling the virus.

This would "ensure adequate supply of food for the Christmas period," the government said.

On Wednesday, the government's medical adviser on Covid, Susan Hopkins, said Public Health England was working on a plan and wanted Christmas to be "as close to normal as possible".

She said tough restrictions might be needed before and after the holiday to allow mixing to take place.

BBC health correspondent Nick Triggle said any rule change would be for a limited time, maybe just a few days.

A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister "has been clear in his desire to try and allow families to have Christmas together".

The spokesman said tougher measures were being taken now to drive down transmission and hospital admissions. He said the prime minister would look at the latest data to make decisions - and there would be an update on the next stages next week.

But on Friday, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford warned that people risk facing strict Christmas measures if Covid-19 infection rates surge.

He called for people not to "fritter away" lockdown "success" after seeing the "first signs" of the firebreak - strict restrictions that were in place for 17 days - working.

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