It’s important to consider seating arrangements for Christmas lunch and, while it might make for a chilly meal, Dame Anne suggested putting granny by an open window. “The oldest most vulnerable person might sit at the end of the table in the best ventilated space,” she said.
Relatives and friends should try and sit two metres apart to “reduce face-to-face contact” and the risk of transmission, she said, adding: “That sounds kind of bonkers, doesn’t it, but I guess you can have a nice Christmas dinner spread out in your sitting room with your turkey on your knee.”
If you’re mixing two households, it might be wise to have two tables. But too many chefs in the kitchen should not be a problem with Dame Anne suggesting leaving it up to one person who can also keep all the surfaces clean.
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, has urged people meeting up indoors to “avoid sharing cutlery or crockery if possible”, and Prof Edmunds said you should put your own plates in the dishwasher to avoid cross-contamination.
After lunch, board games such as Monopoly and Scrabble should be avoided because they risk spreading infection, Sage experts believe, and non-contact family games such as quizzes should be played instead. “Risks can be reduced through playing quiz-based games rather than those which involved lots of shared game pieces,” the scientists wrote.
Families can partake in the age-old classic charades as long as “you can manage to space people out and people don’t shout too much”, said Dame Anne. But singing carols round a fire would need to be socially distanced, she said, adding: “Loud singing and loud shouting will increase the amount of secretion you put out.”
The Queen’s speech or EastEnders special could also be traded for drinks outside around a firepit, Dame Anne said, adding: “You might, if you’ve got two little children, light the fire pit and have pre-Christmas drinks in the garden.”