SPECULATION is growing around plans to relax Coronavirus restrictions during the festive period.

If the plans are given the green light, Kendal residents, as well as those across the whole of the UK could expect to see the relaxed restrictions kick in on Christmas Eve. National reports claim the ease of restrictions could last for up to five days, giving families the opportunity to mix in what could be the most relaxed rules to be in place since the Coronavirus lockdown was first declared in March. The move could come at a time where many families and individuals are struggling with their mental health, due to financial pressures and isolation.

Kendal Rural councillor Pat Bell believes that relaxing the restrictions over Christmas would be a great way to boost the mental health of people in the area and beyond. Cllr Pat Bell, SLDC's shadow cabinet member for health said: "I think that this would be good and it is important for families. "It is important right across the family grouping, for all of the children and their parents, and even their grandparents - it is so important. "We should be giving greater consideration to the well-being and to the support of all of our families."

Dr Susan Hopkins, the medical adviser to the Government's Covid-19 response, suggested tougher restrictions could be needed either side of Christmas if curbs are to be eased over the festive period. She told a Downing Street briefing: "We are very keen that we have a Christmas as close to normal as possible. "That requires all of us to make every effort over this national restriction period and even in early December to get the cases as low as possible and to reduce the risk of transmission within households and between families. She added that ministers are working on what the "new tiers" will be after the anticipated easing date for lockdown and on a plan for Christmas. Deputy chief scientific adviser Dame Angela McLean indicated the Sage advisory panel had been examining potential relaxation of measures over Christmas. Asked whether households mixing could be allowed if there were other trade-offs, Dame Angela said: "What's really important is we go into a festive week when we want to mix with our friends and our family with the number of infections in the community as low as possible." Dr Susan Hopkins told the Downing Street briefing that Sage scientific advice indicated that "for every day that we release (measures) we will need two days of tighter restrictions". "So, coming into Christmas we need to be very careful about the number of contacts that we have, to reduce transmission before Christmas and get our cases as low as possible. "Hopefully the Government will make the decision that will allow us to have some mixing, but we will wait and see what that is."