North Yorkshire residents have been told that Covid is the gift no-one wants this Christmas as the county gets ready for the festive rules relaxation.
Up to three households will be able to mix between December 23 and 27 under plans currently announced the by Government.
There are fears that it could lead to a spike in cases in the New Year and now a direct plea has been made to people in North Yorkshire to think carefully before deciding to spend Christmas with loved ones.
The county council’s corporate director of Health and Adult Services Richard Webb told a meeting of North Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum this morning that just because the rules say you can meet up with people it does not mean you should.
He said there were three main points people should keep in mind.
Mr Webb added: “The first is that three means three.
“Over the five days around Christmas we can all mix with up to three households for that same period but it is the same people in the same households for all or part of that period.
“You cannot mix with different households on different days and if you meet up outside of these rules then the normal Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions apply, depending on where you live.
“The second message is that just because you can it does not mean you should. They are the maximum [rules] that are permitted.
“Whilst people have worked hard to comply with Tier 2 restrictions in North Yorkshire and our infection rates are static we still need it to be coming down. The virus is still out there and every day it is killing people in our county.
“The third and final message is that Covid is the gift that none of us want on Christmas Day. Please take what steps you can to minimise contact and to keep safe and please start doing that now.
“If you are seeing friends and family who are older or disabled or have a medical condition then minimise your contacts now.”
The forum was told that there were currently 184 patients in North Yorkshire hospitals with Covid, which was a decrease of 17 on the previous week but that 10 of the cases had only been admitted to hospital yesterday, suggesting the rate of decline was flattening.