A British official on Tuesday said that families would be able to see some loved ones for the holidays, announcing that the country's COVID-19 restrictions will be modified to allow up to three families to convene in the coming month.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said Tuesday that families would be able to create a “Christmas bubble” that will allow people to mix in homes, outdoor spaces and places of worship.
These get-togethers must remain “exclusive” Gove said, with the absolute limit set at three households.
Gove said these bubbles would allow people to “meet close friends and family in a very restricted fashion, in order to ensure that those we love can be with us at this special season," according to the BBC.
“We all know that Christmas this year won't be as it has been in years past,” said Gove. “But all the governments agreed we should balance the need to protect public health with also allowing people to be with their loved ones."
On Sunday, the British government announced it would seek to ease COVID-19 restrictions with Gove speaking to the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to work out a plan.
The U.K. is still under a one-month national lockdown during which nonessential businesses must remain closed and time spent outdoors is limited. The lockdown is expected to end next week.
The First Ministers of Wales and Scotland, Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon, asked people to remain vigilant and cautious. Sturgeon said she would "continue to ask people to err on the side of caution."
The U.K. reported more than 1.5 million total coronavirus infections and more than 55,000 deaths according to the World Health Organization.