Four more countries have been removed from Britain’s list of quarantine-free travel options: Denmark, Iceland, Slovakia and the Caribbean island of Curacao.
From 4am on Saturday any arrivals from those destinations, including returning holidaymakers, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
The changes were announced on Twitter by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps following the Government’s weekly review of its controversial quarantine policy.
It means Britons now have just nine holiday options that don’t include some form of test or restriction; both Greece (except for travellers from Scotland, or those visiting certain islands) and Italy survive, along with the likes of Turkey and Germany.
Watch: What do the latest travel rules mean?
Each of the four countries ditched from the green list has seen a recent rise in Covid cases. Denmark, for example, currently has a seven-day case rate of 65.2 per 100,000, while Iceland’s is 80.4. Slovakia’s exclusion is more surprising, while the removal of Curacao is unlikely to affect many Britons – the only flights to the Dutch Caribbean islands are via the Netherlands, which has already been taken off the travel corridors list.
See below for the latest updates.
It's sad to see the list of countries growing on the quarantine list in line with the resurgence of Covid-19 in several parts of the world. It now makes even more sense for traveller testing to be introduced as soon as possible, reducing quarantine times and enabling economies to get going again. A co-ordinated, global programme, combining testing with short quarantine periods if necessary, would help protect lives and livelihoods.
Also please don't forget that you MUST self-isolate (quarantine) when returning from a non-exempt country, or face fines which start at £1,000. Visit: https://t.co/wQuays1qsN [3/3]— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 24, 2020
We will not be adding any destinations to the Travel Corridor list this week. Remember: You MUST complete a Passenger Locator Form by law if you enter the UK. This protects public health and ensures those who need to are complying with self-isolation rules. [2/3]— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 24, 2020
Data shows we need to remove DENMARK, SLOVAKIA, ICELAND, and CURACAO from the Travel Corridor list. If you arrive in the UK from these destinations after 4am this Saturday, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days. [1/3]— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 24, 2020
Pleased to see the first phase of the new £80m sea wall 🌊at Dawlish completed by @networkrail. Part of our ambitious plan to deliver reliable, punctual journeys🚉 across Devon & Cornwall, it will help the South West build back better, boosting the local economy and tourism.— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 24, 2020
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Latest data shows we need to remove SLOVENIA and GUADELOUPE from the Travel Corridor list to keep everyone safe. This means if you arrive in the UK from these destinations after 4am Saturday, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 17, 2020
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At Undiscovered Destinations, we wholeheartedly support The Telegraph’s Test4Travel campaign. It is vital to get the British public travelling again. Many of the destinations that we offer are now opening up once again and the small local suppliers who rely on our clients for their livelihoods are desperate to see business return.
However, while many destinations are open for UK visitors, the issue of having to quarantine on return can be off-putting for travelers. Removing the need for quarantine by issuing airport tests would make travel to many destinations around the world which are open to UK travellers, more accessible. Testing at the airport is a quick, easy and safe way to boost our beleaguered industry and should be implemented as soon as possible.
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We welcome the news from Rishi Sunak that the government is launching the Job Support Scheme, and the cancellation of the VAT increase for the hospitality and tourism industry that was planned for January. However, this is little reprieve for the travel industry – both business and leisure travel – that has been hit so hard by this pandemic.
To get both travel and the economy moving the Government needs to agree consistent standards and transparent guidelines for travellers. More specifically it should heed the call from airports and airlines to introduce testing on arrival – a model that is working successfully at many airports around the globe, such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Dubai.
The ongoing impact of the pandemic is causing great anxiety for our customers, our people and our business, and is clearly having a massive impact on the UK economy. In the UK, business travel is critical to the economy, contributing around £220 billion in GDP in 2019. Business travellers get the deals done and build relationships which drive global trade. That’s going to be even more vital not only in rebuilding the British economy post-pandemic, but also post-Brexit.
It is very doubtful how helpful the extension of the 5% rate will ultimately be for the UK’s hospitality sector. Previous measures were very effective. The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme was definitely a success in getting the public to visit restaurants and the lower VAT rate, where it was passed on, has encouraged people to take holidays in the UK.
However, given the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and new government restrictions to try and prevent a second wave, coupled with the arrival of autumn and then winter, demand in the sector will inevitably fall as fewer people take holidays.
It is not clear what the government can do to improve the situation for the tourism and hospitality sector, but the extension of the VAT cut is a very meagre sticking plaster at best.
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Undoubtedly, today's announcement will help many tourism businesses and safeguard jobs, which of course is incredibly welcome. H owever the desperate needs of British inbound tourism businesses, who bring international visitors to the UK and support tens of thousands of viable jobs, have once again been overlooked.
These businesses have received no visitors since March, can't pivot to capture domestic business, continue to be excluded from rate relief and grants and, with so few international visitors, won’t benefit from the extension of the VAT reduction. These businesses are sustainable and will be profitable again, once international tourists can return and are no longer impeded by measures such as quarantine.
Whilst we welcome these measures, especially the Jobs Support Scheme, the Government's one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work and is having a detrimental effect on these previously profitable companies, which generated £28 billion to the UK economy in 2019.
From today, all pubs and restaurants across the whole of England will be ordered to close at 10pm each and every night – possibly for the next six months – as the authorities try and put a lid back on the rising Covid-19 infection rate.
At face value this might not seem like an especially drastic restriction, but for small hotels and restaurants out in the countryside, the effects could be disastrous. This is why I have written to Downing Street, on behalf of Rural Hospitality and other small business owners, asking that the new rules are rewritten to allow our businesses to survive.
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The constant changes in Government strategy and lack of clarity about possible time-frames for the latest restrictions means that everyone is in a state of limbo.
As we don’t know how long the 'rule of six' will last, guests are reluctant for us to cancel their bookings, for example for autumn half-term, in case the law about group numbers is relaxed again. But that means we are not able to re-let to smaller groups and recoup some of our losses.
Moreover, the Government funds to promote rural UK tourism at a time when they are effectively closing many accommodation providers and discouraging people to travel within the UK is farcical. They now have made it easier for people to go on holiday in a large group to a foreign destination such as Turkey or Greece without quarantining when they return, than to stay in the UK.
Winchcombe Farm Holidays
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Recent events have shown that the Covid-19 pandemic is not set to pass quickly, and is a situation we will need to navigate through, until a vaccine is found. The tightening of restrictions across the UK this week will continue to affect consumer decision making when it comes to travel, further impacting an industry that has, at times, felt unheard by the Government through the pandemic.
The air corridor and quarantine on return restrictions have made it harder for travellers to pick destinations, but the last minute changes in policy around certain destinations, which has led to travellers scrambling to get home to avoid quarantine, is what has dented customer confidence.
The travel industry needs proper test and trace on arrival, which would help reduce the quarantine period, and therefore give people reassurance to get back on the road.
As we approach the end of furlough, more needs to be done by the Chancellor to consider the ongoing impact to the travel industry and rethink how the Government can protect businesses and livelihoods. It's not just about the aviation industry, this is about the whole of the travel industry, from front line travel agents, tour operators, inbound and outbound, and the infrastructure that supports the travel industry as a whole.
Nobody’s yet explained how an hour more or less spent sitting in a restaurant is going to make any difference to infection rates. It sure will make a difference to hospitality workers though, because this means yet more job losses on top of the million predicted already.
It’s so horribly sad, especially in an industry know as an enabler of social mobility and provider of opportunity for all.
We in UK hospitality are massively appreciative of how the government has assisted the sector, and as instructed, everyone worked hard to space out bookings across the evenings so as to safely distance our guests. However this new directive seems to contradict that and some operators will now face stark choices: squeeze more tables in to survive, lay off more good people, or close down
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The favourite note I received when I took on the job was from a former partner of mine at [consulting firm] McKinsey, whom I hadn’t spoke to in a while, and it said ‘congratulations’ – the congratulations was followed by question mark and an exclamation point.Right now we are in an unusual mode where we have the opportunity to have everything on pause – everything is on pause – and revisit everything. What’s working, what would we change?I will tell you that the one thing [past passengers] emphasises, is that our guest experience is the number one experience in travel. That’s a strength that’s unmatched, so we’re going to stick with that strength and deliver extraordinary experiences.
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