Foreign holidays can result in £5k fine under new covid laws
Holidaymakers can face a £5,000 fine for travelling abroad under new coronavirus laws.
The new legislation was announced as part of the government’s road map for easing England out of lockdown on Monday.
Formally labelled the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, the MPs will vote on the legislation on Thursday.
If approved, the new laws come into effect on 29 March.
Although a travel ban is already in place as part of the current lockdown, the restrictions end when the ‘stay at home’ rule goes: 29 March. However, the new law means the foreign travel ban continues, now backed by the hefty fine.
Unless abolished or revised, the new laws are to last until the 30th of June.
As per current plans, the earliest people in England could travel abroad for leisure without being fined is 17 May.
The steady influx of Covid-19 cases and the relaxed distribution of the vaccines across continental Europe have made the future of non-essential foreign travel uncertain.
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, stated, ‘We are seeing this third wave rise in some parts of Europe and new variants, and it is very important we protect the progress we have made.
‘It shows what an international challenge this is, and what we have to do is all work as much as we can together, but it also shows why we are being cautious on international travel.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson remarked that the third wave of Coronavirus washing ‘up on our shores’ is unavoidable and further warned that the impact of the surge in Covid cases in continental Europe would be felt in the UK.
The ban does not apply to travellers going to the common travel area of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland. Unless they are not the final destination.
In the meantime, anyone leaving the UK to go elsewhere must fill in a ‘Declaration to Travel’ form citing valid reasons for travel and personal details.
Failure to do so will result in a £200 fixed penalty notice.
The ban exemptions apply to those travelling for:
- Medical appointments
- Funeral attendance
- Wedding attendance (or to get married)
- Legal obligations
- Moving, selling, or renting property
- Visiting a dying relative (or close friend)
- Escaping a risk of harm
Additionally, the legislation presents a series of prospective ‘steps’ with key dates in line with the Government’s roadmap to come out of lockdown.
- 29 March – Outdoor gatherings of up to six people will be allowed.
- 12 April – Reopening of non-essential shops, as well as hairdressers, salons and outdoor hospitality venues.
- 17 May – Up to six people will be allowed to meet indoors and up to thirty people outdoors.
- 21 June – A potential lift of all restrictions on social contact.