Coronavirus: What the UK and France’s quarantine deal means to your vacation plans | Travel News

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Before too long, international travellers flying into the UK will be required to quarantine themselves for two weeks in order to make sure they do not spread coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the addition to the government’s COVID-19 strategy in an address to the nation on Sunday, without revealing a start or end date for the new measure.

However, a reciprocal agreement struck between Mr Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron later revealed that the 14-day quarantine would not apply to those moving across the Channel.

But those hoping the deal might have rekindled hopes of a potential summer holiday would do well to keep their expectations in check – coronavirus means there is still no indication you will be able to enjoy a getaway anytime soon.

The prime minister delivered a speech laying out the next steps in the UK government's response to the coronavirus pandemic

PM’s lockdown statement in full

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has told Sky News that trips abroad will remain off the cards despite the apparent exceptions granted for those heading to and from France.

He told Kay Burley@Breakfast that the arrangement was focused on “common sense measures” across short straits, such as to maintain shipping between Calais and Dover.

Advice on the website of the French embassy in London also makes clear that people should only travel between the two countries when “strictly necessary” – ruling out hopping on the Eurostar for sightseeing in Paris.

The Eurostar is still operating a reduced service but there are restrictions on who can travel
The Eurostar is still operating a reduced service but there are restrictions on who can travel

While travellers coming from the UK, the European Union and the Schengen zone will not need to enter quarantine immediately upon arrival in France, they will need to provide documents proving their need to enter the country.

Examples of supporting evidence listed on the embassy’s website include proof that your main residence is in France, proof that you work in healthcare, or that you are a cross-border worker.

Transporters of goods need a certificate from their employer and to show where the goods are being delivered.

A cyclist wears a facemask as she crosses The Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris on May 4, 2020, on the forty-ninth day of a strict lockdown in France, in place to attempt to stop the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
France has been in lockdown for more than 50 days

Earlier this month, Mr Macron said it was “too early to say” when people might be able to go on a summer holiday, whether abroad or within France.

“We will only know this at the beginning of June,” he said.

The UK and France are among the countries worst-hit by coronavirus.

The UK has more than 220,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 31,930 deaths, and France has more than 177,000 cases and 26,383 deaths.

One of the final days of operation for Disneyland Paris before it closed back in March
One of the final days of operation for Disneyland Paris before it closed back in March

Unlike the UK, some French businesses that had been forced to close – such as salons – have been allowed to reopen with enhanced safety measures in place.

However tourist destinations remain closed, including the likes of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Disneyland Paris, which have helped make France become the most visited country in the world.

France welcomed around 90 million visitors in each of the last three years, with more than eight million Britons making the trip each year, and it was aiming to hit 100 million in 2020.

The centuries-old mount lies empty except for a handful of local residents whose businesses depend on the influx of tourists.

Explore a deserted fairytale island in France

With France off the cards, are there any other holiday options?

The only other country exempt from the UK’s incoming quarantine measures is the Republic of Ireland, although this move has not been fully reciprocated.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar introduced 14-day self-isolation rules for incoming travellers last month, other than for those residents returning from Northern Ireland.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish government will keep its existing rules in place – meaning people travelling from the other home nations will have to quarantine for two weeks.

Leo Varadkar has a plan to ease Ireland's lockdown

Varadkar’s plan to ease Ireland lockdown

Domestic holidays for Britons are also still on hiatus – based on the vague timetable outlined by Mr Johnson on Sunday, the majority of the UK’s hospitality industry will be offline for some time to come.

There is a prospective return date of 4 July for some venues such as pubs and restaurants, but this could change if coronavirus reasserts itself among the population.

Any comeback for locations like these would also need to adhere to social distancing rules.

Tourism officials in Cornwall say 80% of the industry could collapse if holiday makers do not return for July and August.
Tourism officials in Cornwall say 80% of the industry could collapse if holiday makers do not return soon

British resorts such as Center Parcs had already committed to remaining closed until the end of May.

Speaking on Kay Burley@Breakfast, Mr Raab said he was “sorry” to those whose holiday plans had been torpedoed, adding that he would not be making any such travel arrangements this summer.

Last month, tourism officials in Cornwall warned 80% of the industry could collapse if guests were still not being accepted come July and August.

For now, Britons are still being broadly advised to stay at home other than for essential work and outdoor exercise.

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