Residents in the borough of Rochdale are being urged not to visit other people's homes during the Christmas period including on Christmas Day.
Local public health officials are warning that a surge in mixing over Christmas, together with the increased risk of transmission arising from a new strain of the virus, will lead to a significant rise in cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in January 2021, which will cause unnecessary deaths.
Residents are asked to protect each other by not forming Christmas bubbles on Christmas Day apart from their usual support bubbles. People who have recently travelled into the borough are urged to take extra precautions by not leaving the house and being aware of their potential symptoms. Anyone with symptoms must get a test as soon as they arise.
The council's concerns have been echoed by the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal which have described the Christmas relaxations as a "major error that will cost many lives."
The government has reduced the amount of time people can mix from 5 days to just Christmas Day, but the council still has serious concerns about the consequences. There are also concerns about the additional risk posed by the people from Tier 4 areas who have travelled to other parts of the country ahead of Christmas.
Families are strongly encouraged to find other ways of meeting up such as walks outdoors and using technology to connect online.
Andrea Fallon, director of public health at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "The government guidance allowing households to mix on Christmas Day is in direct conflict with what we know about how this virus spreads which is mainly household to household. When you add in an increased risk of transmission from the new strain, plus a more relaxed atmosphere it's a recipe for disaster.
"Our infection rate is already high so mixing on Christmas Day is a massive risk for local people. Our consistent high rates have translated into more illness, more deaths, less jobs for local people, more businesses that will be forced to close for good, and because of missed school days, school children could find it harder to pass their exams.
"I cannot emphasise enough that letting down our guard over Christmas is not good for our borough. Our services, which have been working flat out for months, are going to find it even harder to cope.
"It's a big ask I know but with the vaccination programme starting, there is light at the end of the tunnel, so we are asking people to take good care of themselves and their families over Christmas by staying at home. That way we can look forward to doing more of the things that we love doing and we can all get back on our feet sooner."
Councillor Daalat Ali, cabinet member for healthy lives at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "We know that the festive period is a really important time of year for many of our residents but the consequences of mixing could be devastating for your family.
"It is likely that mixing at Christmas will push us into another lockdown in January which would have an even worse negative impact on residents' mental health and our businesses who are already on the brink of collapse may not survive."
Anyone self-isolating, including school children, or anyone who develops symptoms must not join a Christmas bubble and must remain in their own home.
Testing will be available every day throughout the festive break.