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When can I go on holiday again? Travel rules after Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap announcement

Self-catering holidays in the UK will be allowed from April 12, but what about foreign travel? Cordelia Aspinall answers everything you need to know about holidays after lockdown

By
08 March 2021
T

he roadmap has been drawn, but the big question is: when can we all go on holiday again?

Last week, talks of a Greek travel corridor gave beach-seekers a glimmer of hope, but will we be allowed to fly without a vaccine passport? And what about staycations?

From the countries most likely to open for travel this summer to the likelihood of an Easter mini-break, this is everything you need to know about post-lockdown travel.

How soon could holidays be on the cards?

In England, self-contained accommodation will open no earlier then April 12 for single households. In his speech in the Commons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that overnight stays could not happen until after April 12 at the earliest.

Hotels and holiday parks are expected to open in the next stage on 17 May.

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The PM’s road-map out of lockdown will kick-start on the March 8 with the reopening of schools. Social restrictions will then be eased, with the ‘rule of six’ making a comeback and up to two households being able to mix. At this stage we will also be allowed out for non-essential day trips, but this does not include overnight stays.

Next will come the opening of non-essential shops before the grand reopening of restaurants and pubs for outside dining and drinking.

The Government will use four tests to examine if we are ready for each easing of restrictions, including success of the vaccine roll-out, vaccine efficacy, new variants and infection rates. If all meeting their targets, the UK will be able to proceed to the next stage of the road-map and continue its journey out of lockdown.

There will be five weeks between each stage of restrictions being eased, so holidays abroad - and even staycations - still remain just out of reaching distance for now.

When will foreign travel resume?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been tasked with leading a review of the safety of reopening borders. The review will report its results by April 12 in time for a decision by May 17.

The current strict travel regulations, including quarantine hotels for arrivals from red list countries and 10-day self-isolation at home for all other travellers, will remain until at least the May 17 deadline.

Which countries could be open for travel?

Talks for a Greek travel corridor from the UK are currently underway with Greek authorities, so Santorini sunsets and souvlaki could be just months away, and Iceland is high on expert watchlists given its vaccination drive and readiness to open up travel again. Last month, it became one of the first countries in the world to waive quarantine or testing for residents arriving back into the country with an international vaccination certificate.

The Seychelles is currently welcoming vaccinated visitors from anywhere in the world; as is Israel, where 82 per cent of the population has already received a jab; and the Caribbean, which has been one of the most reliable parts of the world for British travel over the last six months.

The Cypriot government said those who had both Covid jabs could travel there without restrictions from 1 May.

However, the UK government travel restrictions will still be in force.

Will I need a vaccine passport to travel?

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The review by Grant Shapps will look at ways travel restrictions could be lifted including the possibility of vaccine certificates for those who want to holiday abroad.

It looks like likely that vaccine passports will become a part of life. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that other countries will require proof of vaccination to allow visitors in and that he, and the government, “obviously want to make sure that Brits can fulfil that”.

With plans for all adults to have received the first jab by the July 31, there is some hope for travel on the horizon, as long as the lockdown lifting sticks to plan and other countries allow holidaymakers from the UK.

At a Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson acknowledged there were ethical issues around vaccine certificates but said international travellers may be asked for proof of vaccination like yellow fever in the future.

He said: “There are clearly some quite complex issues, some ethical issues, issues about discrimination and so on, to what extent can governments either compel or indeed forbid use of such certification.

“I think all that needs to be gone into so we are going to have a review of the whole issue before we come to it.”

But he added: “There may well be a role for certification but we just need to get it right.”

What are the rules for the Easter holidays 2021?

Self-contained accommodation will open after the Easter holidays - and when most children are back at school - on April 12.

From March 29 outdoor gatherings of up to six people, or two households, will be permitted. Bring on another April heatwave.