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Can I travel during lockdown? What the new Covid restrictions mean for going on holiday in the UK and abroad


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A new national lockdown is coming into place in England from Thursday 5 November, and it’s set to be a serious blow for would-be holidaymakers.

The new rules mean people in England will have to stay at home, unless they have a specific reason to leave, in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The new measures are set to be in place until 2 December, but there is the possibility that they may be extended.

Here is what the new rules mean for holidays and for travelling to work.

What does this mean for holidays abroad?


Holidays will be banned for those in England when the new lockdown rules come into play on Thursday.

“Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed,” the Government said.

“This includes holidays abroad and in the UK. It also means you cannot stay in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.”

The announcement is expected to be a further blow for the travel industry (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The announcement is expected to be a further blow for the travel industry (Photo: AP/Paul Sancya)

There are a few specific exceptions for staying away from home including at second homes, which include for “work, education or other legally permitted reasons”.

The rules have come in shortly after some popular holiday destinations were added to the air bridge list, such as the Canary Islands, leaving many people in a difficult position with the prospect of their planned trips now being cancelled.

What about holidays in the UK?

People in England will also not be able to go on holiday within the UK while the lockdown is in place.

“Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law,” the Government said.

People in  England have been told to stay at home except for a few exceptions (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP via Getty Images)
People in England have been told to stay at home except for a few exceptions (Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP/Getty)

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There are various restrictions in place in other parts of the UK.

The whole of Wales is currently under a 17-day “firebreak” lockdown which started on 23 October and will last until 9 November, and means people can only leave their homes for limited reasons and must work from home where possible.

In Scotland, much of the country entered Level 3 of a new five-tier system at 6am on Monday, with the rest of the country placed in either Levels 1 or 2.

Numerous restrictions are also in place in Northern Ireland, including pubs and restaurants closing for four weeks starting on 16 October with the exception of takeaways and deliveries, and other rules.

What about those already on holiday?

Those already on holiday don’t have to cut their trip short.

The Government said: “British nationals currently abroad do not need to return home immediately.

“However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.”

Can I travel to work and are there any other exceptions?

Everyone who can efectively work from home is encouraged to do so by the Government, but those who can’t are allowed to continue going in to work.

It is advised that those who are travelling for legally permitted reasons such as work should try to take steps to practice social distancing, such as avoiding busy times on public transport, and walking or cycling where possible.

Other exceptions to when people are allowed to travel include:

  • travelling to work where this cannot be done from home
  • travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
  • hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • visiting venues that are open, including essential retail
  • exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so

How has the travel industry reacted?

Travel bosses have expressed their concerns over the damage being caused to the industry during the pandemic and have called for increased support.

Chief executive of travel association Abta, Mark Tanzer, said the rules “will mean a complete shutdown for travel businesses which have already been severely damaged by the pandemic”, but added “public health must come first”.

Budget airline EasyJet has called for “urgent” support for the sector, similar to that which has been provided to hospitality.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “Given the steps the Government has taken, which essentially prevents air travel in the UK, our call for sector specific support has never been more urgent.”

Meanwhile trade body Airlines UK, said: “Aviation has been devastated by the pandemic, and has essentially never had the opportunity to recover.”

Additional reporting by PA

Original Article


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