Christmas getaways will need careful planning - UK minister

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People walk through the Burlington Arcade adorned with Christmas decorations, in London
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  • Grant Shapps
    British politician (born 1968)

LONDON (Reuters) - People in Britain will need to consider their Christmas travelling routes carefully if COVID-19 restrictions are temporarily relaxed for a fixed period over the festive season, the transport minister said on Tuesday.

"I want to be completely up front with you. We are going to have to ask people to take a close look at any proposed journey and think about the routes that they're taking," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC TV.

The government said on Sunday that restrictions could be eased across Britain over Christmas to allow families to get together for a period of up to five days, leading to forecasts of gridlock as people all set off on the same day.

Christmas is always a busy time to travel, said Shapps, but the pandemic will add extra congestion, particularly on the railways with the need to social distance.

Shapps said he would do all he could to minimise planned Christmas engineering works on the rail network, but said some would have to go ahead as they had been scheduled two years in advance.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Michael Holden)

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