CONFUSION reigns following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement of changes to Covid rules over Christmas.

The Isle of Wight is in Tier One, but most of the country has been plummeted into far stricter restrictions — and mixing over Christmas has also changed for all.

Here is your definitive guide to what you can and can't do over the festive season on the Isle of Wight.

The below rules are currently in place, with a relaxation on Christmas Day only.

What tier is the Isle of Wight in and what does that mean?

We are in Tier One - medium level.

This means we can meet other people under the Rule of Six. This means six people can meet indoors or outdoors. This limit of six includes children of any age.

You can continue to meet in a group larger than six if you are all from the same household (a family of two adults and seven children, for example) or if a support bubble or another legal exemption applies.

There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles. Support bubbles have been expanded. You can form a support bubble with another household if any of the following apply to you:

A support bubble could be:

  • You are the only adult in your household (any other members of the household having been under 18 on 12 June 2020), or are an under 18-year-old living alone.
  • You live with someone with a disability who requires continuous care and there is no other adult living in the household.
  • You live with a child under one, or who was under one on 2 December 2020.
  • You live with a child under five, or who was under 5 on 2 December 2020, with a disability.

In Tier One, can we go out to restaurants and pubs, and who with?

Yes, hospitality venues are open and you can meet up in groups observing the Rule of Six (see above).

There will be table service only, with last orders at 10pm and the venue closing at 11pm. You will have to wear a mask when not at your table.

Are there any large scale events in Tier One?

In Tier One, elite sport, and live performances, are allowed, with limited audiences. For example, there is pantomime on at Shanklin Theatre, where you can book a row of up to six seats for your group.

Can we travel off the Island and can people come here?

People in Tier One should avoid travelling to Tier Three or Tier Four areas. Portsmouth is now a Tier Four area, for example. People in Tiers Three and Four should avoid travelling out of their areas. Ferries are still running, as is other public transport. Ferry operators are urging people to follow the rules as laid out by government.

People can still travel for legitimate reasons, such as work purposes, if unable to work from home, and for healthcare appointments.

People in Tier Four should not stay away from home overnight, so they shouldn't be coming to the Isle of Wight for holidays or for a Christmas overnight break.

What happened to the five-day Christmas relaxation?

There was meant to be a five-day relaxation of the rules over Christmas, allowing up to three households to meet.

However, for those in Tiers One, Two and Three, the relaxation of rules over the festive period will now be limited to Christmas Day only — not the five days as previously planned.

The rules are even stricter for Tier Four.

Christmas bubbles for those in Tiers One to Three will not be able to include anyone in Tier Four. Tier Four people cannot mix with anyone else at all. Those living in a Tier Four area cannot meet other people indoors, unless they ordinarily live with them, or they are part of their existing support bubble. Outdoors, they can only meet one person from another household.

On the Isle of Wight, on Christmas Day only, you can mix with three households, but not one different set of three households in the afternoon and then another set in the evening.

So, to sum up, what we can do on Christmas Day on the Isle of Wight?

On Christmas Day ONLY, the rules are relaxed so people in Tiers One and Three can travel between Tiers One and Three. Up to three households can mix together, indoors or out. The Rule of Six doesn't apply on Christmas Day.

What does the Government say about Christmas bubbles?

The advice on the government website says: "You should think very carefully about the risks and only form a Christmas bubble if you feel you absolutely need to. Wherever possible, discuss alternatives to meeting up in person."

You must not visit or leave a Tier Four area in order to see others over Christmas or on Christmas Day.

What about New Year's Eve?

There are no special exemptions on New Year's Eve so you must follow the normal rules of your tier. That means on the Isle of Wight, in Tier One, you must follow the Rule of Six (explained above). It means you can go out for a drink in a pub or a meal in a restaurant, with up to six people, but last orders will be at 10pm and the establishment will close at 11pm. People mustn't have big parties at home - the Rule of Six applies.

What happens if someone in your bubble has symptoms or tests positive for Covid-19?

You must follow rules on self-isolation, which apply if either you, someone you live with, someone in your childcare or support bubble, or someone you have been in contact with, has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus.

This means you must not form a Christmas bubble if you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating. These rules are the law and you must follow them even if it means not meeting with friends or family for Christmas Day.

If a member of your Christmas bubble tests positive for coronavirus or develops coronavirus symptoms on 25 December, or up to 48 hours after members of the bubble last met, all members of the bubble must self-isolate as if they were members of the same household.