The Latest COVID Rules and Requirements For Those Heading Away For Easter
It’s great that over the last few weeks, many of the remaining COVID restrictions have been removed in time for the Easter holidays. Happily, some of the UK’s favourite destinations have also invited travellers back by removing some, if not all, of the extra admin that came with COVID. Masks are largely off, and testing is rare, especially for the vaccinated.
Here’s what you need to know about the latest rules and restrictions (correct at the time of writing). But as always, check official information at gov.uk, and the government website of your destination for the most up to date requirements, as things are always changing.
The UK has no travel restrictions
With Easter holidays in mind, the government recently removed every last restriction that relates to travel and COVID. That means no more onerous forms, or dreaded testing before you return. While the domestic consideration of mask-wearing on public transport and indoor settings in Scotland and Wales still stands, you really only need to factor in travel restrictions at your destination.
Destinations are opening up
Popular countries like France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Portugal currently ask for proof of vaccination (or recent recovery from COVID in some of these countries) and perhaps a health form or two to enter. Just be aware that in addition, Portugal is still doing basic health screenings, and Greece is conducting randomised testing on arrival.
Once you’ve touched down, these countries still call for masks on public transport and/or indoor settings. Italy and Greece are the strictest countries, with the need for health passes to enter establishments, and FFP2 masks to be worn on public transport. While many will see that as a pain, it makes them a good option for those who want to minimise their risk of catching COVID whilst on hols.
It pays to get jabbed
For those who haven’t got their recent vaccinations, it’s much trickier to travel. Places like Spain, for example, won’t accept unvaccinated tourists, although there are some exceptions – like if you have proof of COVID recovery from the last six months. Even more lenient places like France still ask for proof of COVID recovery, or a negative lateral flow test taken 48 hours before entry.
It will be too late to get jabbed ahead of the Easter bank holiday weekend, as most places require your last vaccination dose to be 7-14 days before departure, but it’s worth considering to help make your next trip that bit easier.
Airlines are removing mask mandates
As the mask mandates have been pretty much removed in the UK, many airlines like Jet2, British Airways, TUI and EasyJet have followed suit and aren’t asking jetsetters to mask up when they board the plane. That is, unless the destination requires masks to be worn on public transport, in which case you’ll have to keep it on. Ryanair haven’t removed their mask mandate at all, so you’ll need to bring one with you, and they also give the heads up that in keeping with destination requirements, flights to Italy, Germany and Austria need FFP2 masks.
Travel industry staffing issues means you should plan before you travel
Unfortunately COVID is still causing issues with the travel industry. With rates remaining high travel staff are having to stay off work. Then there’s the added difficulty in ramping up staffing levels to cope with peak travel times, with the result that airports like Manchester, Birmingham and Heathrow have seen large queues at security, while some airlines are cancelling a number of flights. The two main takeaways are to check with your airport to see how early you need to get there, and also be aware of your refund and care rights if your flight has been cancelled or delayed. This helpful info can be found on the Citizens Advice website. But with any luck, your last minute holiday will be plain…flying!
If you’re looking for travel insurance to protect your last minute trip Switched On’s holiday cover offers feature packed policies at low prices which take minutes to arrange. Get a quick quote here!
Please Note – while the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing, as rules and regulations change rapidly in regard to travel and COVID-19 its important to check the relevant government websites and that of your travel provider so you are up to speed on the latest requirements before you head away. We have no control over the external websites linked to in this article.