UK owners of holiday homes in France voice quarantine concerns | World news


BRitual tourists who cancel trips to France because they may need to be quarantined for 14 days upon their return may be upset, but the owners – often British too – of the places they had booked lose more than simple vacation.”For every potential visitor, there is an owner who depends on this rental for their livelihood,” said Gavin Quinney, who runs a large country lodge in Creon near Bordeaux and is now looking at a void in late August and a very fragile September.

“You can understand that people hesitate, for all kinds of reasons. But we’re going to have to figure out what the rules are, which is fair, because there are people out there who really suffer from the continuing uncertainty of this summer’s stop-start.

France is said to be “on the edge of the cliff” to be removed from the UK government’s list of quarantine-free destinations amid a continuing rise in infections, with a decision expected by the end of the week.

The country, visited by 12 million Britons per year, has a weekly moving average of nearly 1,700 new infections per day and an infection rate of 30.4 per 100,000 population. Boris Johnson has said the UK “will not hesitate” to impose new quarantine restrictions if the government sees fit.

In its last update on Tuesday, the French national health agency said the circulation of the virus “was progressing and intensifying in metropolitan France”, with infections “affecting all age groups, especially young adults “. Prime Minister Jean Castex said the country must “pull itself together”.

Quinney, who along with his wife Angela runs a thriving vineyard producing red and white wines also primarily for the UK market, had ‘almost written off’ the 2020 season but had been full since early July when the UK lifted its previous requirement quarantine for travelers returning from France.

Coronavirus deaths in France – graph

“There was massive demand,” Quinney said. “But the possibility of a new quarantine is a real problem. Obviously some don’t mind – they either work from home or don’t believe it will be enforced. But for many others, it is a major concern. And everyone rolls their eyes at what people definitely consider government nonsense.

Several late summer and early fall bookings were canceled, he said, or people are delaying final payment. “We have to call, ask them to sign up and give them their money back if they can’t,” he said. “While it is possible to replace a reservation, we cannot afford a last minute no-show.”

Many owners have no other source of income. Phil Davies runs a small, specialist complex of six apartments near Perpignan aimed at families with young children. Despite the fact that a portion of his bookings come from customers in mainland Europe, he estimates the profits are at least 50% lower.

“Our clients tend to be very careful people,” he says. “This year has therefore been particularly difficult. With British customers at least, there is a real ‘once bitten, twice shy’ mentality. A feeling that the government has done it before with quarantine, with very little notice, so it can do it again.

Davies said UK government communication was neither clear, reassuring nor timely. “People are confused, some are afraid and many are ashamed,” he said, adding that instead of a general quarantine, the government should consider the regional approach to infection risk taken, for example. , by Germany.

“It would make a huge difference,” he said. “The Germans say, ‘Avoid Brittany,’ and they test people the day they return, and then six days later. This way your family life is not ruined; your professional life is not ruined. Where we are here – the Pyrénées-Orientales – has been very little affected.


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