FAMILIES in Cumbria can celebrate with their loved ones this Christmas after it has been announced that up to three households will be allowed to mix as "Christmas bubbles".

The move will allow families to reunite over the festive period, and for some, this will be the first time they have seen family in nine months, since the first lockdown began in March.

The UK Government and devolved administrations have agreed the approach despite concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

The temporary easing of measures will allow up to three households to mix in a bubble from December 23 to 27.

A joint statement issued by the four UK governments said: "As 2020 draws to a close, we recognise it has been an incredibly difficult year for us all.

"We have all had to make significant sacrifices in our everyday lives, and many religious and community groups have already had to change or forgo their customary celebrations to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

"This cannot be a 'normal' Christmas. But as we approach the festive period, we have been working closely together to find a way for family and friends to see each other, even if it is for a short time, and recognising that it must be both limited and cautious."

Each Christmas bubble will be able to meet indoors at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place.

The existing and restrictive rules surrounding hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout the five day period.

The plan was agreed following a Cobra meeting chaired by Michael Gove bringing together the Westminster Government and the devolved administrations.

Cabinet Office Minister Mr Gove said the deal would "offer hope for families and friends who have made many sacrifices over this difficult year".

"In coming to this agreement, we have listened to scientific and clinical advice on how best to minimise the risk and reach a balanced and workable set of rules that we hope will allow people to spend time together at this important time of year," he said.