- Özgür Töre
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that some lockdown restrictions will be eased from 12 April.
Pubs and restaurants serving outside can reopen as planned next Monday, along with non-essential shops, gyms and hairdressers, according to the announcement.
However, he continued to urge caution, with no changes to social contact rules and many restrictions still in place. Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to 6 people or 2 households, and you must not socialize indoors with anyone you do not live with or have not formed a support bubble with.
The British prime minister also said the government was hopeful as the international travel could resume in the next stage of lockdown easing on 17 May.
One of Europe’s highest spending tourists, Britons can rejoice travel and tourism industry of Europe that was hit hard by restrictions imposed on travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course, It is also depending on when tourists can return to the beaches, cafes and tavernas in Europe.
“I wish I could give you more on that, I know that people watching will want to know exactly what they can do from May 17, but we’re not there yet,” Johnson said. “As soon as we have more solid information, more solid data, we’ll let you know.”
From Monday 12 April additional premises will be able to reopen – with the rules on social contact applying. Indoor settings must only be visited alone or with household groups, with outdoor settings limited to either six people or two households.
This includes non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons; and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3).
Overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted and self-contained accommodation can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.
Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will also reopen.
The majority of outdoor settings and attractions can also reopen, including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances events.
Hospitality venues will be able to open for outdoor service, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew. The requirement to eat and drink while seated will remain.
People should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays are still illegal.
The number of care home visitors will also increase to two per resident, and all children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance.
Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors.
Funerals can continue with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, outdoor receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said “We welcome the Prime Minister’s comments regarding the reopening of non-essential international travel and the news that a risk-based, traffic light approach will be implemented. This was a key ask in UKinbound’s submission to the Global Travel Taskforce and its inclusion is a clear sign that Government is listening to the industry.
“When the taskforce’s full report is published on the 12th April we need to see a robust four nation approach to reopening and the intention to develop bilateral and multilateral travel agreements with valuable international markets such as the US. A stop-start restart is one of the biggest threats to our sector and it’s therefore crucial that Government implements the recommendations of the taskforce and continues its dialogue with industry, which will aid consumer confidence to travel to and holiday in the UK. But the restart will not happen overnight, and it will take many, many months, and, as long as restrictions are in place at our borders, businesses will struggle to survive, warranting the need for urgent sector specific support.”
“It’s disappointing that the opportunity has been missed to provide more certainty to reunite families separated by travel restrictions, to give sunseekers the confidence to book ahead for their summer getaway. A clearer timeline for the return to international travel is needed,” Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said.
Traffic-light System for International Travel
Britain will use a traffic-light risk system for countries once non-essential international travel resumes. Travel destinations will be ranked green, amber or red according to virus risk.
Currently, people arriving in the UK from abroad are required to self-isolate for 10 days.
British nationals who arrive from a banned "red list" of high-risk countries face costly quarantine in government-approved hotels.
Countries that could fit on the green list include Portugal, Malta, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
Countries on the amber list would require self-isolation. Those on the red list would require quarantine.
Covid-Status Certification System
A Covid-status certification system will be developed over the coming months which could allow higher-risk settings to be opened up more safely and with more participants. Over the coming months, a system will be developed which will take into account three factors: vaccination, a recent negative test, or natural immunity (determined on the basis of a positive test taken in the previous six months).
Events pilots will take place from mid-April to trial the system. All pilots are checking Covid status, initially this will be through testing alone but in later pilots vaccination and acquired immunity are expected to be alternative ways to demonstrate status.