The British government has removed France from its list of travel lanes, leaving hundreds of thousands of vacationers scrambling to revamp their travel plans. A 14-day quarantine on return to the UK from France will take effect from 4 a.m. on Saturday (August 15), leaving a window of just over 30 hours for travelers to return home if they want to escape the measures.
UK criteria for removing a country from the list are based on the number of cases per capita. If these exceed 20 per 100,000, the UK government classifies this country as high risk. This Wednesday, France reached 30.4, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, with significant figures in recent days: 2,524 new cases were reported on Wednesday, against 1,397 on Tuesday, and more than 2,000 per day on Last weekend.
For those who are already on vacation in France, Eurotunnel has issued a notice following the announcement of Thursday August 13: “In view of the change in quarantine requirements for British travelers returning from France, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle wishes to advise customers currently in France, and hoping to return early, that they must modify their tickets online at eurotunnel.com, before going to the French terminal. The service is already very busy this weekend and there is no additional capacity. To avoid long queues and major disruptions, we strongly advise against showing up at the terminal outside the allotted hours. Customers will not be able to board alternative shuttles without a valid reservation. “
Can I still travel to France?
Some holidaymakers may choose to accept the 14 day quarantine upon their return to the UK and travel worry-free. Working from home can be an option, but keep in mind that the quarantine rules are much stricter than the lockdown. You are not allowed to go outside your house or garden to exercise or walk the dog. Children will not be able to start school. No visitors are allowed, with the exception of caregivers.
People in quarantine can only leave their homes to request urgent medical assistance; to obtain basic necessities such as food and medicine, where no one else can do it for them and they cannot be delivered; to fulfill a legal obligation (such as a court hearing); for compassionate reasons (a funeral or a visit to a seriously ill family member); to access essential public services (eg social services); move to a new self-isolation location described previously in their passenger locator form; or in extenuating circumstances, such as a house fire.
Anyone caught in the act of quarantine faces a fine of up to £ 1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and £ 480 in Scotland; repeat offenders can be fined up to £ 5,000.
In addition to removing France from the list of travel corridors, the Foreign Ministry has also updated its website to advise against all but essential travel. Although these are guidelines rather than laws, it could be risky to travel, since the majority of insurers will not cover travelers who choose to ignore these guidelines. Most policies will cover medical bills for those who were already in France before the announcement – but anyone traveling after the changes in advice will not be able to get help with hospital bills.
If I travel, what can I expect from my vacation in France?
Wearing masks in enclosed public spaces is compulsory for ages 11 and over. This includes restaurants and bars, museums, shops, hotels and shared vacation properties, recreation centers, vacation parks, libraries, theaters, cinemas, places of worship, boats, covered markets and other places where several people from different households gather. Masks are also mandatory on public transport and taxis, and those who do not wear them face fines. Many attractions and restaurants will operate at reduced capacity, so advance reservations are advised.
Social distancing is expected in other public spaces, such as beaches – some of which have demarcated areas for bathers – as well as in town squares, campsites and around swimming pools.
What should I do if I am already on vacation in France?
You have until 4 a.m. on Saturday (August 15) to return home before the quarantine requirement goes into effect. Expect a rush to ferry ports and very expensive last minute flights if you need to cut a trip short. Eurotunnel has warned against trying to return home, as it is currently full, meaning those who cut back on their trip are unlikely to take the train home.
If I cancel my ferry reservation, will I get a refund?
Unless you’ve booked a fully refundable ticket, that’s unlikely. However, ferry companies primarily allow passengers with bookings through August 31 to book for free or offer vouchers that can be used next year. DFDS offers travel credits that expire September 1, 2021, and P&O vouchers last for one year. Brittany Ferries is the exception: it says normal conditions apply so you will lose your money if you haven’t booked a refundable ticket.
Eurotunnel offers passengers who cannot travel the option to change reservations the next time or to claim a voucher.
And the airlines / Eurostar?
The fact that the flights are still in service means that airlines are not obligated to reimburse those who choose not to travel. When Spain was taken off the non-quarantine list, British Airways and Ryanair both refused to help passengers who could no longer travel.
Ryanair’s website states: “Please note that a government-imposed notice of the quarantine period will not result in flight cancellation and an automatic right to a refund.” EasyJet has offered passengers to Spain the option to switch to alternative flights, but has yet to set out its policy on travel to France.
Eurostar says passengers with a reservation until September 7 can request a voucher valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
What about my accommodation?
Again, hosts are not required to offer a refund unless it was part of the original terms. Some hotels offer cancellation options to encourage bookings, so check the booking conditions.
Airbnb is offering those who booked their trip before March 14 the option to cancel trips until the end of August if “the pandemic prevents you from completing your reservation.” Its standard cancellation policy applies to all bookings made after March 14. Some people will end up losing half of their money.
I have a reserved package – what will happen?
Package vacations are protected by Atol, which means vacationers are entitled to a full refund when the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to a destination. The ability to change to alternative dates or destinations may be offered first.
Will my insurance pay?
Some of the best travel policies offer cancellation coverage if a quarantine is imposed, so check the terms of your policy. However, in most cases, your travel policy will not pay.
Will I be paid in quarantine?
You are not automatically entitled to statutory sick pay if you self-isolate after returning from vacation, according to industrial relations organization Acas. If you can work from home, for example, you can get paid normally. But if you can’t, one solution might be to take annual leave. Downing Street said people deprived of a salary after being forced to self-isolate should claim universal credit or seek arbitration.
Labor lawyers said only those with two years of seniority were protected from dismissal for not showing up for work. Those showing symptoms of Covid-19 and self-isolating are entitled to statutory sickness benefit of £ 96 per week or more.