Scottish Daily Mail

Health chief: Break out the past­ing table at Christ­mas din­ner

- By Michael Black­ley Scot­tish Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor Lifestyle · Scottish Government

FAM­I­LIES should con­sider serv­ing Christ­mas din­ner on a past­ing table to en­able so­cial dis­tanc­ing, ac­cord­ing to a Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment health chief.

Na­tional clin­i­cal di­rec­tor Ja­son Leitch said peo­ple with­out large din­ing ta­bles should think about us­ing makeshift al­ter­na­tives – such as a wall­pa­per past­ing table – if they form a three­house­hold Christ­mas ‘bub­ble’.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s guid­ance says peo­ple should try to avoid close con­tact with other house­holds in their ‘bub­ble’ and should re­main two me­tres away from oth­ers ‘as much as pos­si­ble’.

Asked on BBC Ra­dio Scot­land if it was ‘im­pos­si­ble’ for some peo­ple to keep two me­tres apart un­less they were in ‘some ban­quet­ing hall’, Pro­fes­sor Leitch said: ‘ It’s not, be­cause re­mem­ber this isn’t eight in­di­vid­u­als who have to sit two me­tres apart – you have to sep­a­rate the house­holds, not the peo­ple.

‘So you can have a five, a two and a one.

‘Yeah, you’d need a big table but have you never used the past­ing table on the day you’ve had granny round for your Christ­mas din­ner? Or sat the kids round the sofa rather than round the big table?

‘I think Scot­land is in­no­va­tive enough to man­age.’ He de­fended pre­vi­ously telling peo­ple how to serve roast pota­toes and to bring their own cut­lery, although he said he had been crit­i­cised by some mem­bers of the pub­lic.

He said: ‘I get peo­ple ask­ing me very, very gran­u­lar ques­tions on so­cial me­dia, or in the me­dia, or even my own fam­ily and friends say­ing “can I do this?”, “how should we serve our turkey?”, “should we carve it up at the table?” etc.

‘And I get oth­ers say­ing “for heaven’s sake mate, we’re fed up lis­ten­ing to you, you’ve been on the telly for 11 months, would you go away and leave us to eat our roast pota­toes in peace”.’

He added: ‘I use the roast po­tato anal­ogy as a kind of ex­am­ple of how you might do Christ­mas din­ner safely. You can have your roast pota­toes, the roast pota­toes are not your risk. The risk is things that you share: so big spoons, cut­lery that you share. So the big shared buf­fets, I’m afraid, are out.’

Pro­fes­sor Leitch said he is ‘hop­ing’ three or four peo­ple would be meet­ing up on one day, rather than eight peo­ple for a five-day holiday.

He added: ‘We want peo­ple to be very, very sen­si­ble. And it may be you have to bor­row some chairs from up­stairs just to make that dis­tance a lit­tle bit eas­ier.’

Chil­dren un­der 12 will not be counted towards the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple al­lowed in any group­ing.

Those liv­ing in shared flats are be­ing urged not to split away from their cur­rent house­mates, while peo­ple who might want to visit a loved one in hos­pi­tal or a care home are ad­vised to avoid en­ter­ing any bub­ble ar­range­ment.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment also ad­vises that house­hold gath­er­ings over Christ­mas should take place out­side if pos­si­ble.

 ??  ?? Meal ad­vice: Ja­son Leitch
Meal ad­vice: Ja­son Leitch

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