The Liverpool City region was the first in Great Britain to be placed under strict Tier 3 restrictions on October 14, with other areas in England following. 28 local authorities are now subject to the most stringent measures in the country.
The government could ban extended families meeting at Christmas if the coronavirus restrictions are still in place.
“If that is necessary to get the virus under control, then we must do it.
Secretary of the Environment George Eustice suggested that families living in areas subject to various level restrictions should not be allowed to meet, even in groups of less than six.
The new rules have enforced a ban on households from mixing, and bars and pubs that don’t serve food have had to close, leaving many affected families for the holidays.
Eustice rejected Liberal Democrats’ demands to plan coronavirus restrictions now for the holiday period.
The minister said it was “too early to say” how the closures might affect the festivities, but told the LBC: “If we need restrictions and want to prevent families from gathering in large gatherings, if that is necessary to control the virus, then of course we must do it.
Asked on Times Radio whether families from different social classes could spend Christmas together, he added that this was “not currently planned.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has called for four-nation covid planning in relation to Christmas and warned people that they face confusion and complexity because of possible restrictions.
“We should not, as the Lib Dems say, set our guidelines based on the approaching Christmas, but we should set our guidelines based on the epidemiology of this virus and follow science and respond appropriately to emerging situations”.
Mr. Eustice told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, “This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we judge all the time what restrictions might be necessary and what is appropriate as restrictions in a particular area.
The Secretary of Health in the Shadows, Jonathan Ashworth, said the government’s failure to introduce a circuit breaker over the school term “endangered Christmas” and urged ministers to “do something quickly to save Christmas.
Asked if he believed that families could meet in groups of more than six people, the Labour MEP said: “This is in the hands of all of us and in the hands of the decisions that she (the government) will make next week or so about what she (the government) will do to get a grip on this virus.
“I think because they have missed this window of opportunity halfway through the legislature, I am now concerned that we will see deeper, more drastic closures in November and December, which, unfortunately, are likely to jeopardise Christmas.
On Times radio he said that government sources “sometime in November” are planning a Level 3 lockdown in most areas of the country, and he expects this to continue throughout the Christmas season.