UK travel update: European holidays possible from 06 July
The UK ban on all non-essential international travel is expected to be relaxed imminently for a handful of European destinations, according to ministers. The eased restrictions would mean that British holidaymakers could take a trip abroad this summer without self-isolating for 14 days on their return to the UK.
It is expected this week that the Foreign Office will relax its advice ‘against all but essential international travel’ that was put in place on 17 March. The list of ‘air bridge’ destinations – allowing UK visitors to travel to selected countries without the need for quarantine – has yet to be announced, but is expected to include Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Belgium and Norway.
There is speculation that a COVID-19 ‘traffic light’ system will be introduced, with red-labelled countries being those with the highest risk, amber signalling mid-risk and green low-risk. After a spike in COVID-19 cases around the Lisbon area, previous frontrunner Portugal is unlikely to be on the air bridge list. With a higher rate of infection than the UK, Sweden is also less likely to make the cut.
Tour operators and travel agencies have been reporting an increase in bookings over the past week. The travel industry association, ABTA, reiterated that the sector was "eagerly" anticipating confirmation of the list of countries, while the Director of Public Affairs at Eurotunnel, John Keefe, said that phones had been "ringing off the hook" with customers keen to travel on the Eurostar.
There will of course be health and safety protocols in place for any international travel. UK holidaymakers will be required to provide proof of the address they plan to stay at on their return from holiday, as well as wear face masks on planes and ferries.
Ministers in Scotland have yet to confirm whether they will also look to ease restrictions.
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