Santa's Grottos given green light to open under all tiers – but with a catch

Children will get to meet Santa this Christmas after all – as long as they do not sit on his knee.

No 10 has given the green light for Santa’s Grottos, nativity plays and carol singing to go ahead but with Covid-19 restrictions in place such as social distancing.

Guidance published by the Government on Sunday states that several festive traditions will be allowed to take place once England’s national lockdown ends on December 2.

Santa’s Grottos can open in all tiers as long as they are taking place in venues which are allowed to open under coronavirus restrictions applied to their area.

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The guidance warns the venues should put ‘appropriate Covid-secure measures, including social distancing’ in place.

Meanwhile, children’s nativity plays will be allowed to go ahead ‘within existing school bubbles’ and avoiding any mixing across groups.

But parents will only be allowed to attend in tier one and two areas – subject to ‘appropriate safeguards’ in the audience area. Schools in tier three are advised to live-stream or pre-record the performances.

Door-to-door carol singers can also spread their annual cheer – but only in groups of six and they must keep at least two metres away from ‘the threshold of any dwellings’.

Participants are expected to follow social distancing by staying at least two metres apart from anyone who is not from the same household, and the same distance away from the door of the property outside which they are singing.

If there are more than six people, the groups should not mingle or socialise, the guidance states.

Indoor singing will also be permitted but only by choirs and with no audience participation.

Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, said the news that people can come together to sing outdoors over the festive season ‘will bring comfort and joy to many’.

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