When can I go on holiday again and what are the rules?

Cordelia Aspinall and Luke O'Reilly
·5-min read
 (The Scarlet Hotel)
(The Scarlet Hotel)

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

The rules, guidance and news seem to change daily.

So, below we’ve broken down what you need to know, from the latest on vaccine passports to the possibility of staycations and which countries are most likely to open for travel this summer.

How soon could holidays be on the cards?

In England, self-contained accommodation opened from April 12 for single households.

Hotels and holiday parks are expected to open in the UK after the next stage of restrictions easing on May 17.

Overseas leisure travel is also expected to resume for people in England on May 17.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We do want to do some opening up on May 17 but I don’t think that the people of this country want to see an influx of disease from anywhere else.”

A small number of countries are expected to make it onto the “green list”, which will remove the need to quarantine on return to the UK although travellers will still be required to take a PCR test. The list is expected to be announced later this week, and will be reviewed every three weeks.

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.

Boris Johnson on May 3 was asked about the prospect of foreign holidays and said that he did want to see “some opening up” on May 17.

Previously Mr Johnson has announced a new traffic light system for international travel will be implemented, which will see countries separated into green, amber and red lists.

PA Wire
PA Wire

Countries on the green list will not require quarantine but travellers will need to take a COVID test before and after travel. Amber countries will require a two-week quarantine at home. So far, no details of which countries will be on the green list have been provided.

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.

Will a Covid passport be required?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the NHS app will be used by holidaymakers in England to prove their coronavirus status to destination countries,

Mr Shapps said the app – which is currently used to book medical appointments and order repeat prescriptions – will display evidence that someone has been vaccinated or recently tested.

He told Sky News: “In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm we are working on an NHS application; actually it will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or you’ve had testing.

“I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised, as that’s the way forward.”

Which countries could be open for travel?

The European Commission has said it proposes to ease restrictions on travel to countries in the bloc amid progressing vaccination campaigns and lower infection rates.

Fully vaccinated tourists would be allowed to enter the 27-nation block with “emergency breaks” to protect against new Covid variants.

Under current restrictions, people from only seven countries including Australia and Singapore are allowed to enter the EU on holidays or for other non-essential reasons subject to tests or quarantine.

Under the EC’s new proposals, which requires approval from member states, foreign citizens who have been fully vaccinated against Covid and those arriving from countries with a “good epidemiological situation” would be allowed in.

People arriving from Britain and Russia would be among those able to meet the new criteria, according to data from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). US citizens would not.

Greece is hoping to open up to British tourists who are vaccinated, have Covid-19 antibodies or have taken a negative Covid test from May 14, the Greek Tourism Minister has said. Though, the new travel ban will mean Brits face a fine of £5,000 if they leave the country before June 30.

Cyprus will also allow vaccinated Brits (who have had both jabs) into the country without restrictions from May 1, though UK government travel restrictions will still be in force then.

Spain’s tourism minister, Fernando Valdes Verelst, told an international summit held by the World Travel & Tourism Council in Mexico that the country will welcome back tourists – including those from the UK – in June.

He said: “Spain is going to be ready in June to use this digital certificate. We are doing a pilot programme in May, in all our 46 airports.

“We are going to give all these travellers that certainty. Spain is going to be ready in June to tell all travellers worldwide that you can visit us.”

Manuel Lobo Antunes, Portugal’s ambassador to the UK, said UK holidaymakers could be able to visit the country next month.

He told Sky News the country is “hopeful” that “from the middle of May, regular mobility between the UK and Portugal and vice versa can be established”.

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