Scottish Daily Mail

Health chief: Break out the pasting table at Christmas dinner

- By Michael Blackley Scottish Political Editor

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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