To crack down on unnecessary international travel while its lockdown begins to ease, England has revealed a new fine. Clocking in at £5,000 ($6,900), the penalty will be levied on anybody caught attempting to leave England without a legally valid reason.
While almost every country has restricted travel in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, not every country has done so equally. Indeed, the United Kingdom was one of the last to bring in a mandatory quarantine period. Despite being 12 months since England’s lockdown first started, international travel rules are now stricter than ever.
Holidays are illegal
Since England issued its latest stay-at-home rule, it has generally banned international travel. However, the rule is set to lapse on Monday, with the country’s lockdown beginning to ease. According to the BBC, a specific law will then come into effect, outlawing most international travel. This will see stay-at-home morphing into stay-in-the-uk. Those breaking the new law would be liable to be fined £5,000.
Passengers are already required to fill out a travel declaration stating why they think they can travel internationally. They can already be fined £200 if this is incomplete or not present. A slightly different form will be in use from Monday.
As mentioned, it is currently only possible to travel internationally for a legally permitted reason, such as for work purposes. However, there is some good news, the new travel declaration form issued by the United Kingdom government includes additional reasons to travel. According to the government, some reasonable excuses for leaving the country after Monday are,
- Work (where travel is essential)
- Medical or compassionate grounds
- Weddings, civil partnerships, and funerals
- A non-UK resident who has been in the UK temporarily
- Allowing access to parents with children who do not live in the same country
The government’s travel declaration form also includes a box where travelers can add other reasonable excuses.
When will international travel return?
The big question that everybody in the travel industry will want to know is when international travel will return. Previously we reported that the government is set to review the guidance on international travel around April 12th. However, it has also been said that regular travel wouldn’t resume until May 17th at the earliest. According to Reuters, this claim was repeated by the UK’s health minister this morning, who said,
“The earliest date by which we will allow for international travel…is the 17th May. That has not changed.”
Those entering England also face a wall of restrictions, with all required to undergo at least three COVID-19 tests, and some required to quarantine in hotels for ten days on arrival.
When do you think the UK will allow international travel to resume unrestricted? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!