Lockdown rules have been partially relaxed, with Boris Johnson announcing a slew of new things Britons are allowed to do. However we’re not out of the woods yet, with bans still in place on visiting anywhere that isn’t your own home or a park, so it is still looking dire for wannabe holiday goers.
With the exceptions of the Republic of Ireland and France, the Government has now announced a mandatory two week quarantine period for those travelling into the UK by any means – whether they are a resident or not.
The quarantine period is part of the Government’s new strategy to relax some of the lockdown measures, with a slew of new freedoms for those who live in England.
Boris Johnson did not say when the quarantine requirements would take effect.
The news sparked alarm from the travel industry and the aviation sector, while the farming industry, which faces a severe shortage of seasonal workers, will also be affected.
- Could I change households if I am not showing symptoms?
Are travel agents open?
Yes – although travel agents do not come under essential services, so physical shops have been closed for the duration of the lockdown.
However, many travel agents have been working from home, offering online services to those who still have the optimism to book a holiday this side of Christmas.
Hay’s Travel, who overtook many jobs and 555 stores following the collapse of Thomas Cook last year, have surprisingly said they are optimistic about the winter season, with holiday seekers still booking in and rescheduling their plans.
Speaking to the Guardian, Chief Executive John Hays said: “We’ll do what we can to protect our staff, protect the business and protect our customers.
“We’ve just got a positive attitude on life.”
The travel agent and tour operator has no debts and the owners have not paid themselves a dividend for more than 10 years.
There is no clear cut date for when travel will properly resume, and likewise no date for when travel agents will be able to reopen doors.
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Business Secretary Alok Sharma has said that some non essential shops could reopen as soon as June 1, providing that the number of coronavirus cases continues to drop.
In spite of this, bizarrely Wizz Air recently reinstated flights from Luton to Tenerife, Lisbon and Budapest, and British Airways now hopes to fly 50 percent of its services as early as July.
But these measures are confident – places that have lifted lockdowns have in some cases begun to see a rise in positive tests, such as Germany.
The UK Government has also been criticised for potentially lifting restrictions too early, with over 600 new deaths reported on Tuesday,
There has also been no British Government intervention for the aviation industry, despite the likes of Richard Branson begging for a bailout.
While lockdowns are being lifted on the continent, three of the four countries which make up the UK are still severely restricted – meaning you cannot travel unless it is necessary.
What’s more, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises against all but essential travel indefinitely – meaning it can lift the restriction only when it believes it is safe to do so.
Travelling against FCO advice is not illegal but would invalidate virtually all travel insurance policies.
It is also used as a test of a duty of care which a tour operator owes to its clients and effectively means that the operator is obliged to cancel a trip and offer customers a refund.
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