Lockdown levels: what do the coronavirus restrictions mean for travel and your vacation?


The consequences for travelers are not entirely clear, but these questions and answers aim to reflect the differences across the UK.

What are the “three levels” and what do they mean for travelers in the affected areas?

The government says it aims to “simplify and standardize local rules by introducing a three tier system of local Covid alert levels in England”.

The levels are set at medium, high and very high.

The “medium” alert level – which covers most of the country – only prolongs national measures that came into effect on September 25, such as the “rule of six” and the closing of pubs at 10 p.m. This covers most of England.

The “high” alert level mainly concerns the reduction of household-to-household transmission “by preventing any mixing between households or promoting bubbles inside”.

Outdoors, including private gardens, the rule of six applies. The category includes parts of the North West and North East of England, and parts of the Midlands.

The government says, “People should aim to reduce the number of trips they take as much as possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid rush hour and public transport routes. “

The “very high” alert level means there is no social mix inside and in private gardens, but the rule of six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches . It currently applies to the Liverpool City area.

Pubs and bars can only remain open if they function as if they were a restaurant, and alcohol can only be served as part of a “substantial” meal.

Crucially for travelers, the government says people will be advised not to travel in and out of very high risk areas – other than for work, education, access to services for young people or for fulfill family responsibilities.

People outside of these areas should not enter except for the above purposes. In addition, they can enter if they are in transit. This would typically mean traveling by train or arriving or departing from an airport in “very high” risk areas.

What about hotels or other paid accommodation?

“People should avoid spending the night in another part of the UK if they live in a ‘very high’ area, or avoid spending the night in a ‘very high’ area if they live elsewhere,” says the government.

If you are in either category – unable or unable to leave an area – and have booked a property, you should contact the owner as soon as possible to discuss options – for which the preference general will be for a postponement.

I have an advance train reservation to or through a very high risk area. Can I get my money back?

Train operators usually don’t offer a refund, but will allow you to defer. Some charge a £ 10 change fee, others allow free changes.

If you are booked to travel in a very high risk area, you can continue to do so in accordance with government advice – but of course respecting all public transport rules, and any additional stipulations of individual operators, for example example compulsory seat reservations. .

I live in a very high risk area and have booked a flight / vacation. Can I get a refund?

You must not travel (although from England there is no law preventing you from traveling) and you must contact the operator to discuss options. Some will allow deferrals without a problem, but others will say, “The seat is there, and it’s not our fault you can’t use it.”

The Autorité de la concurrence et des marchés (CMA) states: “A consumer will generally be entitled to a refund when he has paid money in advance for services or goods that cannot be provided due to the coronavirus pandemic. ”

There is no test case yet to see if lockdown rules preventing travel should still trigger a full refund.

What are the rules to and from other countries in the UK?

People living in very high risk areas in England should not travel elsewhere, but this does not have the force of law. This is a source of concern for other countries. Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health for Wales, said: “I am disappointed that there has not been a more definitive response from the UK government.

“We know that traveling inside and outside these [high-risk] has been a factor in the spread of the coronavirus to other parts of the UK, including a few examples here in Wales. “

The only legal controls currently applicable to people outside Wales prevent movement to lockdown areas in the south and north of the country.

In Wales, anyone who is in a closed area is not allowed to travel on vacation.

What is the effect of the Scottish special measures on the central belt?

The Edinburgh government has placed restrictions on the area stretching from the Clyde to the Forth. He says: “We are not imposing any mandatory travel restrictions at this point, but you should avoid public transport unless it is absolutely necessary – for example to go to school or to work, if work. at home is not an option.

Travelers whose journeys would take them through the central belt are told, “Please consider the need to travel.”

Locals can still go on vacation and take public transport if needed. “You should only travel and stay with people from your own household or extended family group,” says the Scottish Government.

He adds: “Check local advice before traveling to other parts of the UK. “

Special restrictions apply to Derry City and Strabane. “All museums, galleries and cultural attractions are to remain closed,” says the Northern Ireland executive.

“People living in the Derry and Strabane Local Government District area should avoid unnecessary travel. Likewise, people should only go to the area where it is absolutely necessary. “


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