Holidays: Travel expert says Brits can still book summer breaks
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Holidays are currently illegal. The punishment for breaking this rule is currently a £200 fixed penalty notice, but new regulations will see rulebreakers fined £5,000. March 23 marks the one-year anniversary of the first lockdown in the UK and Britain has taken one step back towards normality, with another step due to come into force on March 29. However, despite coronavirus lockdown easing plans, rules banning holidays are being tightened.
Holidaying abroad could lead to a £5,000 fine under new coronavirus laws due to come into effect next week.
New coronavirus legislation would essentially ban anyone leaving the country without a reasonable excuse such as for essential work, education, medical need or bereavement.
If caught travelling for holidaying purposes rulebreakers could face a hefty fine.
The proposed legislation will also mean protests will be considered a permitted exception to the ban on mass gatherings.
MPs are due to vote on the proposed laws on Thursday, March 25.
If approved, which seems likely, the rules will come into effect on March 29.
They will remain in force until June 30, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggesting holidays may be permitted after that date.
This is in direct contradiction to the suggested dates on the coronavirus lockdown easing roadmap.
According to Boris Johnson’s lockdown easing plan, breaks in the UK may be permitted from April 12.
Holidays overseas may be permitted from May 17.
This date prompted many holiday-starved Britons to book vacations abroad after this date.
But now they are facing potential fines if they continue with their holiday plans.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Hancock said: “The questions of whether people will be able to travel abroad this summer are going to be addressed by the Global Travel Taskforce, which is reporting around April 12.
“The roadmap sets out the earliest date by which we will allow for international travel – without one of the clear reasons you need now – is May 17.
“That has not changed. The way we’re putting that into law is as part of these roadmap regulations that will be voted on Thursday.
“They come to an end as a whole at the end of June. But that doesn’t change the timings for these questions on international travel.”
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Part of the impetus behind the new rules is rising rates of infection across Europe.
Amid these rising rates, fears regarding new vaccine-resistant strains of COVID-19 are also on the rise.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallance warned it was too early to consider booking breaks abroad.
He said: “It would be premature to do that. It’d be potentially risky, we are seeing growing variants.
“We are not going to do anything that puts at risk this national effort on the pandemic. Let’s take it step by step.”
According to regulations, the rules will need to be reviewed by April 12 and at least once every 35 days after that.
Ministers are reportedly drawing up plans for a new “traffic light” system which could make foreign travel safer and easier once it is permitted again.
The traffic light system would work by categorising countries based on criteria such as infection rates, vaccine rollout and border control.
The proposals would enable holidaymakers to visit green countries without quarantining on their return, amber countries would involve a period of quarantine, and red countries would be no-go zones.
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