In February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave his roadmap out of COVID press conference.
In it he outlined a four-step roadmap to ease restrictions across England and provide a route back to a more normal way of life. After each step will be a five-week break to allow time to assess the impact of any easing of measures before moving on to the next step. If everything works and goes to plan, we will be out of all lockdown and social distancing restrictions by Monday 21 June.
Since the announcement, airlines and holiday operators have seen a surge in summer holiday bookings but Rob Gower of Hardingstone-based travel company Dragonfly Traveller says we still need to exercise some caution when it comes to travel.
“At the moment, the guidance is that people should not travel internationally until at least Monday 17 May,” explained Rob. “However, it is important to remember that this is the earliest date possible. Any data gathered between steps prior to this could push this back. There are also other factors to consider, such as which countries will allow travellers from the UK to enter? And will we need to provide some sort of proof or documentation that shows we have had the vaccine as part of the travel/border control experience?”
Rob advises that however much he wants to see the travel industry get moving again, people should hold off on booking abroad breaks until at least Monday 12 April.
He said: “There is a Global Travel Taskforce report due to come out on Monday 12 April which will include recommendations for making ‘a return to international travel as soon as possible’ while ‘managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern’. This report will take into account any new variants emerging elsewhere in the world and the risk that presents to the UK. It will also look the impact of the vaccine and just how much this has protected us against the transmission of COVID-19 and its efficacy against new variants. Only then can the government look at introducing a system to allow vaccinated individuals to travel more freely internationally.”
Rob predicts that even when international travel is allowed, there will still have to be some restrictions in place, even if these are lifted domestically in June.
“This latest government announcement was hugely welcomed by the travel industry and travellers alike,” said Rob. “We all want to see people being able to jet off to sunnier climes and enjoy a change of scenery after a year of lockdowns and restrictions but, if we are to win or at least control this battle with COVID-19, we need to still be extremely careful when mixing with other countries. Understanding new variants as they emerge globally, the effectiveness of the vaccine and any new travel frameworks or border rules are key.”