As lockdown restrictions slowly being to ease and talks of a possible ‘Air Bridge’ spark conversations in government, many of us are beginning to have hope that we may finally be able to get some sun abroad this summer.
That was until the UK government outlined that anyone arriving into the UK must self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival.
But what does this mean, when this be introduced, when will this restriction be lifted, and what options do I have if I don’t want to isolate for another two weeks?
What is the 14-day quarantine and how has it come about?
On the 23rd of May, the UK Home Secretary announced that anyone arriving in the UK from the 8th of June 2020 must self-isolate for 14-days in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with a few people exempt from the restrictions. The requirements will also not apply to those travelling from the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.
Those arriving to the UK will be required to inform officials where they will be isolating, and if their isolation destination is not deemed as suitable, arrivals will have to stay in accommodation provided by the government. Random spot checks will also take place to make sure you are isolating, and if not, £1,000 fines will be enforced.
This is to reduce the number of coronavirus cases from entering the country and help to eliminate the risk of infection.
I have an upcoming trip booked but I do not want to isolate upon my return. Can I cancel my holiday?
As it stands, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is still advising British citizens not to travel unless it is essential or ‘absolutely necessary’.
However, if the advice changes in the next few weeks and Brits are allowed to travel abroad (whether this is through an ‘Air Bridge’ scheme or lifting of entire travel ban), and the 14-day isolation rule remains in place, then many people who do not want to quarantine for another two weeks may be in a predicament – but what options do you have if you are facing this situation?
If you booked a package holiday through a tour operator then you may be able to move your trip to a later date. Customers should contact their tour operator directly to discuss their options and see if this is possible. If holidaymakers are able to change these dates, then they should contact their travel insurer afterwards to amend their policy dates to suit their new travel arrangements.
If you booked independently (e.g. your flights and accommodation separately) then you should also contact the individual providers to see if they will allow you to change your travel dates. At the moment, some airlines are letting you move your flights to a later date free of charge, however it is unknown whether this will continue after the FCO ban is lifted. Again, if you are able to rearrange your travel dates, then customers should contact their insurer to amend their travel insurance policy.
If customers are unable to change their dates and want to cancel their holiday altogether, then they should be aware that most travel insurance policies have a set list of reasons that people can claim for cancellation. Unfortunately, not wanting to quarantine after a trip would not be one of the reasons listed and may well be classed as ‘disinclination to travel’, which is not covered by most travel insurers. Therefore, we would recommend that customers try their upmost to move their holiday, rather than cancel it completely.
However, as always, it is worth checking your policy wordings and contacting your travel insurance provider if you do have any questions or concerns as they will be able to provide you more tailored responses to any queries.
How long is the 14-day quarantine restriction likely to last?
In all honestly, no-one is quite sure.
However, in the last few days, some businesses and MPs have said they are concerned this requirement will damage the already struggling travel industry. News headlines have also suggested that because of this, ministers were discussing possible ways to get around this restriction.
One way of getting around this could be to join up with other countries who have low infection rates and form and ‘Air Bridge’. That way, citizens from the partnered countries would be allowed to travel between the destinations without having to isolate upon return. There has also been speculation that the rules could be relaxed in July, however, this has not yet been confirmed by officials.
So, who knows, this restriction may be altered in the coming weeks. Until then, if you do decide to travel outside of the UK, you can expect to stay at home and isolate for two weeks after you return.