Fact check: Violation of coronavirus rules for British Christmas parties is against the law

Reports shared online have wrongly claimed that violating coronavirus restrictions in the UK is not against the law.

Reuters fact check. REUTERS

The reports read: ‘You do not break the LAW if you have a family on Christmas Day! This is a GUIDELINE Not a LAW … “(here, here).

Restrictions on who can form a ‘Christmas bubble’ – that is, who you can meet with during the Christmas season – differ across the UK.

However, it is against the law to break the rules in all four countries.

Documents published by the Scottish Government state that a maximum of eight people from three households (plus children under the age of 12 from the three households) can form a bubble on Christmas Day, while specifying that it is the ‘legal maximum’. ‘is what is allowed (here).

Government guidelines setting out the rules for Wales and England also state that the ‘Christmas bubble’ regulations are the law (bit.ly/37NBbSe) (bit.ly/3hg38F5).

In Wales, up to two households can form a bubble and meet inside on Christmas Day. For England, it depends on what level you live at.

Those living in Tier 4 cannot form a candle bubble, and as such, they can not see anyone indoors who is not coming from their household.

Those in Series 1 to 3 may form a bubble with two other households on Christmas Day, but may not meet anyone from Tier 4.

‘You need to think very carefully about the risks and only form a candle bubble if you feel you absolutely need it. Discuss where possible alternatives to meet in person, ”says government advice.

The legislation setting out these rules can be seen (here).

In Northern Ireland, a bubble with up to three households can be formed between 23 and 27 December for one day (here).

As with the other nations, the government has explicitly stated that people must “legally” comply with the regulations (here).


Untrue. The rules for Christmas gatherings in the UK are the law.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to actually check social media posts.