We might be daydreaming about leaving the city, or even the country, now that lockdown restrictions have begun to slowly ease. But travel as we once knew it might still be a long way off returning.
Since June 8, people entering the UK have been subject to a 14-day self-isolation period.
Under these restrictions, travellers undergo checks at the border and have to give details on where they are staying. They then have to travel to that address without using public transport and remain there for 14 days. There will reportedly be spot checks to ensure the isolation is adhered to, and £1,000 fines for anyone who breaches the quarantine period.
These new rules will be reviewed by the government every three weeks and adjusted in line with how the situation is progressing in the country.
Announcing the new measures in May, Home Secretary Priti Patel said that the UK was introducing the rules as a reaction to other countries in Europe beginning to relax lockdowns and reopen their borders to travellers, and as some airlines, like EasyJet, begin to run routes again.
Certain workers, such as medical staff, road haulage and freight workers, will be exempt, as will people travelling into the UK from Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
There had been rumours of a travel bubble between the UK and France, which would allow easy movement between the two countries without an isolation period, but that’s not on the cards for the time being. The government is, however, in talks with countries such as Portugal and Turkey to set up ‘air bridges’, which would allow isolation-free travel.
The BBC have recently reported that ‘the government is planning to relax its travel quarantine rules in early July for some countries’ adding: ‘the UK hopes to make an announcement on June 29 that it has secured a number of “travel corridors”.’ A travel corridor with Portugal, for example, would mean people from Portugal could travel to the UK and people from the UK could travel to Portugal without quarantine on arrival at their destination or upon their return.
There are also unconfirmed reports that the UK travel restrictions will only last until July for arrivals from EU countries, with unrestricted travel beyond that point – and that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is on the brink of withdrawing its current advice against all non-essential travel.
Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown recently suggested that the quarantine measures might be lifted by the end of this month. ‘If we are going to do it, we should’ve done it much earlier,’ he said on the BBC’s ‘Today’ programme, adding: ‘I think it will be eased from June 28 or thereabouts.’
We’ll keep bringing you the latest as the situation evolves – but you might still want to hold off booking that beach holiday for now. Those two weeks indoors when you get home won’t do your tan any favours.
When will we be able to travel again? Here’s what we know so far.
Parts of the world are reopening. Here are the countries lifting travel restrictions.