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 will open no earlier then April 12 for single households. In a 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.
The PM’s road-map out of lockdown kickstarted on March 8 with the reopening of schools.
Social restrictions have been eased, with the ‘rule of six’ making a comeback and up to two households now able to mix since March 29. We are allowed out for non-essential day trips, but this does not include overnight stays.
From April 12, 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.
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.
But it’s not looking good for holidaymakers.New laws came into force on March 29 extending the ban on non-essential travel to June 30.
According to the new legislation, no-one may “leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom, or travel to, or be present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom” without a reasonable excuse. Brits could face a £5,000 fine if they leave the UK without a reasonable excuse.
Boris Johnson has also announced a new traffic light system for international travel will be implemented, which will see countries separated into green, amber and red lists.
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.
Which countries could be open for travel?
With a third wave of Covid hitting Europe, it’s unclear if Brit favourites like France will be on the green list.
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. Portugal has also said that people who tested negative or were “immune” could visit this summer and Spain is understood to be considering a “green corridor” for British tourists.
Meanwhile, 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.
There are also discussions taking place about setting up a travel corridor with the US, which is aiming to re-open travel by mid-May when all adults will have been offered the vaccination.