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When can I go on holiday with friends and family under new lockdown plans?

Ellen Manning
·4-min read
May 17 has been targeted as the earliest possible date for a foreign holiday, according to the government's roadmap. (Getty)
May 17 has been targeted as the earliest possible date for a foreign holiday, according to the government's roadmap. (Getty)

Holidays with friends and family won't be back on the cards until later this year, according to the government's roadmap on the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

Self-contained accommodation like campsites and holiday lets will be allowed to reopen from April 12 at the earliest, according to the roadmap, but only for stays by the same household.

Boris Johnson’s roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions states that hotels can reopen and foreign travel will be permitted from May 17 at the earliest.

The roadmap added that from March 8, outbound travellers will be legally obliged to provide their reason for travel on a Declaration to Travel form.

A review is also underway into when international travel can resume, and is expected to report by April 12 so people "can plan for the summer", Johnson told MPs on Monday.

Watch: PM sets out roadmap out of lockdown

Confusion has surrounded the issue of holidays and whether people should plan them for this summer, with ministers appearing to contradict one another over the past few weeks.

Earlier this month Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said “people shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – not domestically or internationally”, saying it was "too soon" to know what would be possible.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that he has already booked his holiday for Cornwall in the summer.

Read more: Hairdressers and salons could be open from 12 April, Boris Johnson reveals

Following the Prime Minister's announcement of the roadmap in the Commons on Monday, the travel industry expressed relief at the prospect of people in England being allowed to take summer holidays.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, who co-founded the Save Our Summer campaign, said the announcement was “the news the travel sector really wanted”.

He said: “I’m sure virtually everyone in the travel sector will be pleased with the greater clarity and a timeframe of May for enabling those who’ve been vaccinated to travel overseas.

“By then, there will be over 16 million people eligible to travel abroad to see family, or for business or leisure, in a safe and responsible way.”

He said the 850 firms who backed the campaign would “welcome the Prime Minister’s boost to confidence”, adding: “It means more consumers can be reassured that their 2021 summer trip can take place, or they can get a refund or refix their travel date.

“They can book knowing that this summer will be even safer than last.

“We will need to see the finer details in the future reviews for the sector’s restart but the Prime Minister’s comments are certainly far more positive and realistic than those made by some ministers just two weeks ago.”

Watch: It is 'too soon' to book a summer holidays

British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said it is “critical we start looking at a way to restart travel”, adding that he is “pleased the Government has acknowledged that”.

He went on: “We are an island nation whose history and future is defined by its connections with the world.

“UK aviation supports 1.56 million jobs and one in 10 jobs depends on travel and tourism, contributing £200 billion to the UK economy.

“We support a data-led approach that protects public health. We want to work with Government’s taskforce on a road map now to ensure that aviation is in a strong position to support the UK as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, said: “We’re grateful to the Prime Minister and Department for Transport for providing the clarity the whole sector was looking for that international travel can reopen this summer, as soon as it is safe to do so.

“This will provide much-needed reassurance not only to airlines in desperate need of a summer season but families looking to visit friends and family and take a long-awaited holiday, and we know there is enormous pent-up demand for when we can restart operations.

“We now look forward working with ministers and as part of the proposed taskforce on the practical detail of how current restrictions – which are among the toughest anywhere in the world – can be removed, and how the sector can be provided with as much advance notice as possible before any restart.

“As we have always said, this must be risk-based and proportionate but based on the overriding assumption that as the vaccine rollout accelerates a phased easing of restrictions is achievable.”

Watch: What are the four stages of easing coronavirus restrictions?