What’s Changing For Travel From 19 July

While the pandemic is not over yet, today’s the day where many COVID-related legalities come to an end. As well as the relaxing of rules around wearing masks and social distancing, there are also major changes that mean we can jet off on holiday with a little more ease than before.

While the range of destinations that we can head to are limited, and it’s a live situation so we’ll be kept on our toes in terms of changes at short notice, there’s plenty to look forward in terms of travel.

Mostly, the government is dropping its advice not to visit amber list countries, which means we’re able to make all the non-essential journeys we like, as long as the destination we want to go to will have us too. Given that there are around 150 countries on the amber list, it’s opened up a lot of plane doors for sunseekers.

So what will travel look like from now on? Here’s the lowdown…

Amber list destinations are allowed

As well as being allowed to travel to amber list countries for non-essential journeys, from Monday, if you’ve had two vaccine jabs more than 14 days ago (that will be around 50 per cent of the population) you can return to the UK after your holiday to the vast majority of amber list destinations, and you won’t be required to self-isolate for 10 days or pay for an extra ‘Test to Release’ test.

But it’s important to check the latest requirements before booking/travelling as things can change, as the recent alteration to the need to self-isolate for 10 days if you’re returning from amber-listed France proves (check out the latest info on gov.uk).

For other amber destinations you’ll need to prove your vaccination status, either through confirmation via the NHS app, by downloading a certificate, or getting an NHS COVID letter sent to you. Better news for families: those under 18 are exempt.

To find out more about how to access a COVID Pass visit the gov.uk website here.

You’ll still have to take tests

Aside from the tests that are required by your destination, the UK government will still need even double-vaxxed passengers from amber countries to take a ‘test-to-fly’ test before returning to the UK. Once returned, you’ll need a PCR on the day you come back or up to two following days. But unless the government state otherwise, you won’t have to self-isolate while you wait for the result.

These changes don’t affect EU entry rules

Just to be clear as many of us have our sights on Spain, France and Italy, European countries decide the rules around UK residents arriving into their country individually. For example, fully vaccinated visitors from the UK can visit France without quarantine, and those aged 11 years or over must present a negative PCR test result (from within 72 hours) or antigen test result (48 hours). The transport secretary Grant Shapps is hoping to link the NHS certification system with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which will allow both parties to travel more freely. But if it happens, it won’t be until later this summer.

You’ll still have to wear masks on planes – but maybe not in airports

According to Travel + Leisure, airlines like British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair will still ask passengers to wear masks throughout the flight, regardless of the UK’s masks-off policy. But things look more fluid at airports. With legal requirements dismantled, masks and social distancing is left at the discretion of the individual transport hub. Still, given the risk of mixing and new international variants floating around, we expect airports to err on the side of caution and keep their safety measures in place.

The rules continue for green and red list countries

Even for double-vaxxed sunseekers, nothing changes when it comes to the green and red list countries. If you need to go to a red list country 10 days prior to your arrival in the UK, you’ll have to book in a 10-day mandatory hotel stay at a cost of £1,750. For green list countries, there’s still the requirement of taking a COVID test before you leave your destination, plus another up to two days from when you’re back.


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The details contained in this article were correct at the time of writing but as things can change at any time it’s important to check the latest information available to ensure you have the most up to date details to hand.