Holidaymakers will be banned from travelling abroad again under strict new winter lockdown rules in England.
All outbound international travel will be banned, except for a small number of circumstances, as part of the new rules revealed last night by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Internal travel within the UK from England, for any reason apart from work, education or other legally permitted exemptions, will also be banned as part of the month-long lockdown.
But the new rules, which come into play on Thursday and are set to last until December 2, will differ from those in other parts of the UK.
Scotland will introduce its own ‘Tier System’ from tomorrow, while in Wales, a two-week ‘fire-breaker’ lockdown is set to end on November 9.
But with different rules in different parts of the UK, it means risk-taking winter holidaymakers may try to break the laws in England by crossing the border to catch a flight.
Yesterday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged people not to cross the border once the new rules come into play.
Meanwhile, rows of masked-up travellers were seen waiting to catch flights at Heathrow Airport this morning ahead of the rule changes – which consumer groups warn could lead to thousands of holidaymakers being left out of pocket once more.
The travel ban, which is similar to measures imposed in March, comes just weeks after the government added popular winter holiday hot-spots, the Maldives and the Canaries, to the coronavirus safe list.
The new rules also come as Covid-19 infections continue to rise in England. The government hopes the new lockdown rules will help slow the spread ahead of Christmas.
But they will throw thousands of winter holidays into chaos and heap more misery on already suffering airlines and travel firms, say travel bosses, who have today demanded the government offer more support.
It comes as in other coronavirus developments:
- Michael Gove reveals four-week November shutdown could be extended if it fails to tackle Covid second wave – and warns that without Boris Johnson’s move the NHS would be ‘full’ by next month;
- Boris Johnson brings in the Army to help roll out ‘rapid turnaround’ tests for Covid for ‘whole cities within days’;
- Oxford experts Dr Tom Jefferson and Professor Carl Heneghan reveal the blueprint they have handed to Boris Johnson to help him beat Covid-19 pandemic;
- The Tory party faces a civil war as anti-lockdown ‘redwall’ MPs accuse PM of being ‘bounced’ into shutdown and threaten to vote against move in Commons vote on Wednesday;
- Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots to avoid travelling to England unless for ‘essential purposes’
Holidaymakers will be banned from travelling abroad again under strict new winter lockdown rules in England. Pictured: Travellers were seen queuing for flights at Heathrow Airport today
All outbound international travel will be banned (pictured: Passengers at Heathrow today), except for a small number of circumstances, as part of the new rules revealed last night by Prime Minister Boris Johnson
The travel ban, which is similar to measures imposed in March, comes just weeks after the government added popular winter holiday hot-spots, the Maldives and the Canaries, to the coronavirus safe list. Pictured: A beach in the Caribbean island of Antigua
Internal travel within the UK for any reason, apart from work, education or other legally permitted exemptions, will also be banned as part of the month-long lockdown – which comes into play from Thursday. Pictured: A BA flight at Heathrow
All outbound international travel will be banned, except for a small number of circumstances, as part of the new rules revealed last night by Prime Minister Boris Johnson
EasyJet boss in demand for support for travel industry amid latest lockdown
EasyJet’s top boss has demanded urgent government support for the travel industry after new lockdown rules were announced yesterday.
Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, promised the budget airline would operate its planned schedule until Thursday.
But he warned that ‘much of the UK schedule will be cancelled over lockdown’.
He also called for more support for the industry.
In a statement, Mr Lundgren told MailOnline: ‘Given the steps the Government has taken, which essentially prevents air travel in the UK, our call for sector specific support has never been more urgent.
Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, promised the budget airline would operate its planned schedule until Thursday
“The government has recognised the need to directly support the hospitality sector, where decisions have directly affected its ability to trade.
‘The same principle needs to be applied to aviation.
‘The government’s own statistics show that activity in aviation is already 90% down on pre-pandemic levels, yet to date the government has still failed to provide any sector specific support.
‘A government financial support package for UK aviation companies must be provided now.’
In August, easyJet announced proposals to cut up to 670 jobs and plans to close bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle.
Earlier in the year, easyJet bosses said they would have to cut 4,500 jobs across Europe to cope with a smaller market in the wake of the pandemic.
Speaking in August, Mr Lundgren blamed ‘the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions’ for the base closures and said in a statement that Britain’s quarantine measures were affecting demand.
Up to 670 pilots and crew work at the three bases and many of those will lose their jobs.
As a result of yesterday’s announcement, flights are likely to be cancelled as demand plummets, with Britons only permitted to leave the country for work, education or other circumstances such as medical reasons.
But travellers are not required to return from their trips early, it has been announced, while airports and train stations will stay open.
Airlines are responsible under consumer law to bring travellers home.
But flight schedules are likely to be slashed in response to the drop in demand, meaning many people may be forced to change their travel dates.
British Airways told MailOnline today that its bosses were ‘assessing the new information’ and would keep customers informed.
Meanwhile, easyJet has today promised to operate its planned schedule until Thursday, but warned that ‘much of the UK schedule will be cancelled over lockdown’.
Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, also called for more support for the industry.
In a statement, he told MailOnline: ‘Given the steps the Government has taken, which essentially prevents air travel in the UK, our call for sector specific support has never been more urgent.
‘The government has recognised the need to directly support the hospitality sector, where decisions have directly affected its ability to trade.
‘The same principle needs to be applied to aviation.
‘The government’s own statistics show that activity in aviation is already 90 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels, yet to date the government has still failed to provide any sector specific support.
‘A government financial support package for UK aviation companies must be provided now.’
However, holiday firms and airlines are unlikely to refund customers unless advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) changes – possibly leaving thousands out-of-pocket.
Travel Editor of consumer group Which? said millions of travellers were already battling to get refunds from cancelled holidays during the last lockdown in March.
But he also warned the government must offer ‘urgent support’ to the travel industry if it is to ‘survive the winter’.
Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor, said: ‘Millions of people were left struggling to get refunds for cancelled flights and holidays when the government banned international travel back in March.
‘Many still haven’t been refunded. As travel restrictions are re-introduced in England, the government and regulator must do a better job of ensuring customers aren’t again left to bail out companies through refunds being unlawfully withheld.
‘The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the travel industry, and urgent support is needed if it is to survive the winter.
The government also appears to be sticking with its travel corridors, which mean people returning from countries on the ‘safe’ list will not have to quarantine on their arrival back in the UK. Pictured: Heathrow Airport
‘We are urging the government to introduce a travel guarantee fund to ensure travel companies who are ordinarily in good financial health can meet their obligations to customers.’
Package holiday firms are supposed to refund customers if you are unable to travel, according to ABTA.
However, some holiday firms have previously refused to refund customers where flights to destinations still go ahead.
What are the exemptions for travel according to the government’s rules?
According to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) there is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday.
This means people cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions.
The other exemptions for leaving home are for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household, for all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm, to shop for food and essentials, and to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.
Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, except for specific exceptions including for work, meaning holidays are banned both in the UK and abroad.
TUI, the world’s largest travel and tourism company, have promised full-cash refunds to customers who are unable to travel because of the changes.
A spokesperson said: ‘Following the recent announcement about additional restrictions in England from 00:01 on Thursday 5 November all TUI holidays between Sunday, November 1 and Wednesday, November 4 are currently due to operate as planned.
‘Customers due to travel before Thursday are able to amend their holiday to a later date for free.
‘We understand that holidays abroad (for those living in England) are unable to take place from 00:01 on Thursday 5 November.
‘As soon as we have more information we will be updating customers as soon as we can.
‘If holidays are unable to take place, customers will be notified and offered the option to amend with an incentive, receive an ATOL-protected refund credit note with a re-booking incentive, or cancel and receive a full cash refund within 14 days.
‘Customers currently on holiday can continue to enjoy their holiday as planned.’
Meanwhile, the government also appears to be sticking with its travel corridors.
This means people returning from countries on the ‘safe’ list will not have to quarantine on their arrival back in the UK – though they will be subject to the new lockdown laws.
It comes as holidaymakers arriving back in the UK from the Canaries, Maldives, Mykonos and Denmark were told last week that they will no longer need to quarantine, as the four areas have all been added to the list of air corridors.
Prices soared as passengers rushed to book flights after the announcement. But yesterday it was also reported that prices on holidays to the Canary Islands have dropped by a third, as companies look to tempt costumers for some winter sun.
However that will likely change again following yesterday’s travel ban.
Today, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said there would be ‘no exemption for staying away from home on holiday’.
A spokesperson said: ‘From Thursday there is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday.
Travellers have rushed to book first flights to the Canary islands as the popular holiday destination has been added to the UK quarantine-free list (pictured, Gran Canaria)
‘This means people cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions.
‘Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, except for specific exceptions including for work.
‘In terms of those Britons currently abroad inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach.
‘Separately, those currently on a domestic holiday will be allowed to finish their holidays, but are still subject to the requirements in England not to go out without a reasonable excuse.’
Are you a holidaymaker whose plans have been impacted by yesterday’s announcement?
Are you a holidaymaker whose winter plans have been impacted by yesterday’s announcement?
Contact me at: [email protected]
The new restrictions are for England, with devolved powers in Scotland and Wales set to assess their own situation and apply their own rules.
But the FCDO say that holidaymakers won’t be able to subvert travel rules by flying out from Scotland and Wales – as ‘travel within the UK is banned, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions’.
It also means residents in Wales, who are under a ‘fire break’ lockdown until November 9, while not be able to fly from English airports during the national lockdown period.
Yesterday, as part of her comments about the national lockdown in England, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged residents in both countries not to cross the border.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Following the announcement by the Prime Minister we are also asking that people do not travel to England, or from England into Scotland unless absolutely essential, just as we are also asking people not to go to Northern Ireland or to Wales.’
A Welsh Government spokesperson added: ‘People living in England should follow the rules set out by the UK Government for the month-long lockdown period, including any restrictions on travel.
‘The Welsh Government’s Cabinet is meeting today to discuss the new set of national measures which will be put in place to keep people safe and control the spread of coronavirus when the firebreak period ends in Wales on November 9.’
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the FCDO warned that ‘no travel is risk free’, but added that the department was ‘always reviewing its travel advice’.
The latest change in travel rules comes after last month it was revealed Britons living under Tier Three lockdown would not get refunds for holidays and flights they were due to take – but could be allowed to switch dates at no extra cost.
The restrictions earmarked for Liverpool, Manchester, Lancashire and South Yorkshire ban all non-essential travel outside the affected region.
In Wales, households are currently banned from non-essential travel under the country’s 17-day ‘fire breaker’ lockdown.
The rules mean eagerly-awaited holidays for those living under Tier Three will have to be cancelled or postponed- with Britain’s most-popular airlines offering different rules to customers.
Jet2 is allowing customers planning on travelling up to or on November 30 to amend the date of their booking without an added change fee.
A Jet2holidays spokesperson said:’If a customer is directly impacted by restrictions caused by a local lockdown and is due to travel up to and including 30 November they can rebook their flight or holiday without having to pay an amendment fee.
Jet2 is allowing customers planning on travelling up to or on November 30 to amend the date of their booking without an added change fee (file image)
‘As always, we advise customers to make sure they purchase appropriate travel insurance before they travel.’
Alongside free flight changes, British Airways is allowing customers the option to take a credit voucher – worth the cost of their flight – for future travel.
Customers can apply for their voucher any time before their outbound flight.
easyJet is offering flight changes with no fee for the next 14 days.
A spokesperson said: ‘We understand that some customers may need to alter their plans where local lockdown measures are preventing travel.
‘Impacted customers flying within the next 14 days are able to change their flights without a change fee via our contact centre, seven days from the announcement date.
EasyJet is offering flight changes with no fee for the next 14 days. Pictured: File image of an easyJet plane
‘All other customers can make changes to their booking without incurring a change fee up to 14 days before departure online via Manage Bookings at easyJet.com.
‘Should any flights be cancelled customers are notified and informed of their options which include transferring to an alternative flight free of charge, receiving a voucher or applying for a refund via a webform on our dedicated Covid Help Hub at easyJet.com.’
Tui is offering amendments to any holiday currently on sale – with no fee incurred.
A spokesperson said: ‘We understand that there’s still a lot of uncertainty about travel plans this year, so we’re being as flexible as we can.
Alongside free flight changes, British Airways is allowing customers the option to take a credit voucher – worth the cost of their flight – for future travel (file image)
‘Any customers who cannot travel on their holiday as planned due to tier 3 lockdown restrictions, have the option to amend to any holiday currently on sale, free of amendment fees.’
Virgin Atlantic is offering the same free date change option.
The airline is also offering up to two changes of passenger names along with dates with no fees for bookings up to December 31 and due to travel by August 2021.
A spokesperson said: ‘Virgin Atlantic understands the difficulties that the Covid-19 crisis poses to our customers with upcoming travel plans, and we are offering as much flexibility as possible for those whose trips are affected.
‘We’re helping all customers with upcoming travel plans to rebook on an alternative date free-of-charge, with the option to change their destination, all the way until 31 December 2022.
Virgin Atlantic is offering the same free date change option. The airline is also offering up to two changes of passenger names along with dates with no fees for bookings up to December 31 and due to travel by August 2021
‘For all bookings ticketed up to Dec 31 2020 and due to travel by Aug 31, 2021, customers may also rebook with the date and names change fee waived, for a new travel date up until December 31, 2022 (including open ticket policy).’
Here’s what the government say about travel on their website
You should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport.
Essential travel includes, but is not limited to
If you need to travel we encourage you to reduce the number of journeys you make, walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.
Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed- including holidays in the UK and abroad.
This includes staying in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.
There are specific exceptions, for example if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes.
You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance. This includes the rules on wearing face masks and advice on car sharing.
Developments in the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain around the world. No travel is risk-free.
If you do need to travel abroad before 2 December (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and the current travel corridor list.
What you CAN and CAN’T do under new lockdown: You can only go abroad for work, pubs, shops, restaurants, hairdressers and leisure centres will all close – but construction sites and schools stay OPEN
A new national lockdown across England means people must stay at home unless for specific reasons, such as attending school or college, or going to the supermarket.
He said the measures were necessary to avert bleak predictions of 85,000 deaths this winter.
Below, MailOnline outlines the key details of the new restrictions, which will see pubs, bars and restaurants forced to close once again.
When do the new rules come into force?
The new national lockdown will run from Thursday November 5 until Wednesday December 2.
The lockdown will then be eased on a regional basis according to the latest coronavirus case data at that time.
Can I leave my home?
Yes but only for specific reasons such as education, work if you cannot work from home and for exercise, which you can take as many times a day as you wish.
Construction sites or manufacturing facilities are examples of workplaces which employees will still need to go to.
People can also leave home for recreation with their own household, or on their own with one person from another household (a ‘one plus one’ rule).
Construction sites or manufacturing facilities are examples of workplaces which employees will still need to go to but in general, people are being advised to work from home
Examples of recreation include meeting up with a friend in the park for a walk or to sit on a bench and eat a sandwich.
People will not be allowed to meet in homes and gardens, and golf clubs will remain shut.
People can also leave home to shop for food and essentials and to provide care for vulnerable people or as a volunteer.
Attending medical appointments is also allowed or to escape injury or harm (such as for people suffering domestic abuse).
Support bubbles will remain in place and people can still meet up in their bubble.
Children can move between the homes of their parents if their parents are separated.
What will close?
Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed.
Click and collect can continue and essential shops such as supermarkets will remain open.
Bars, pubs and restaurants must stay closed except for delivery or take-away services.
Hairdressers and beauty salons will close.
Can I go on holiday?
No, you are advised not to travel unless for essential reasons. People can travel for work.
Those who are already on holiday will be able to return to the UK and airports and train stations will remain open.
What if I’m already abroad?
Travellers are not required to return from their trips early.
Airlines are responsible under consumer law to bring travellers home, but flight schedules will be slashed in response to the drop in demand, meaning many people will be forced to change their travel dates.
Bars, pubs and restaurants must stay closed except for delivery or take-away services
Leisure facilities such as gyms and entertainment venues will all be closed
Hairdressers and beauty salons will also close, as they did during the first lockdown which began in March
What if I shielded last time?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people over 60 and those who are clinically vulnerable are being told to be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise their contact with others.
Anyone who was formally notified that they should shield last time and not go out to work will be advised not to go out to work this time.
However, formal shielding as happened during the March and April lockdown – where people were told not to leave home for any reason – will not be brought in.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people over 60 and those who are clinically vulnerable are being told to be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise their contact with others
Should my children go to school or to the childminder? Can they go to a playground?
Yes, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open.
Childminders and nurseries will stay open and childcare bubbles, where for example a grandparent provides childcare while a parent works, will be able to continue.
After-school clubs and sports clubs will be suspended until December 2.
Playgrounds and parks will remain open.
Schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. Childminders and nurseries will stay open and childcare bubbles, where for example a grandparent provides childcare while a parent works, will be able to continue.
You are advised not to travel unless for essential reasons. People can travel for work
Those who are already on holiday will be able to return to the UK and airports and train stations will remain open
I thought we could go to the Canary Islands?
It is less than two weeks since the Government removed the quarantine requirement for people returning from the Spanish islands.
This led to airlines putting on extra flights to cope with the surge in bookings.
Will travel corridors continue?
The Prime Minister did not mention travel corridors in his Saturday night press conference, meaning people arriving from some areas are likely to continue being exempt from quarantine.
But the lockdown means the number of travellers will be diminished anyway.
Will I get my money back if I’ve booked a holiday I can no longer go on?
If your flight is still going ahead and nothing has changed in your destination, you are not automatically entitled to a refund.
But many aircraft are likely to be grounded from Thursday due to the new restrictions, meaning people with existing bookings will be due a refund.
If I am entitled to a refund, how quickly will I get my cash?
UK consumers are protected under European laws which state that they should receive full cash refunds within seven days for cancelled flights and 14 days for package holidays that do not take place.
But since the coronavirus outbreak many people have faced difficulties obtaining payouts from airlines and holiday firms.
That situation is likely to continue over the coming weeks.
Is there a furlough scheme?
Yes, furlough will be payable at 80 per cent for the duration of the package of tougher national measures.
The support will be available across the UK.
Business premises forced to close in England will also receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under a Local Restrictions Support Grant.
A further £1.1 billion will be given to local authorities – distributed on the basis of £20 per head – for one-off payments to support businesses.
Is there support for mortgages?
Yes. Homeowners will be able to take the option of mortgage payment holidays, which had been due to end on Saturday but have been extended.
Home sales are expected to be allowed to continue.
Can I go to church?
Churches will remain open for private prayer.
Funerals are limited to close family members only. It is currently unclear what the rules are for weddings.
Will Premier League football matches continue?
Yes. Boris Johnson said games would continue despite the restrictions.
What if I live in an area with lower cases?
You must still observe the rules because they apply across England.
Professor Chris Whitty said that many of the areas with lower case numbers have the highest rates of increase.
He also warned: ‘Some areas including the South West are likely to get pressure on beds really relatively early because of the way the NHS is constructed in those areas.’