The hospitality industry has reacted with dismay at the decision to introduce a 14-day quarantine on arrivals into the UK from overseas, announced by the Home Secretary last week.
From June 8, anybody arriving to the UK from an international country via plane, train or ferry, will be required to isolate for two weeks, with fines of up to £1,000 given out to those breaking the rules.
Speaking via a televised press conference, Home Secretary Priti Patel said that travellers will be asked to fill in a form on arrival, which will include their contact information and an address where they will have to remain for 14 days.
If the traveller does not have somewhere to stay, accommodation will be arranged by the government.
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said the new measures were ‘another blow to the UK’s struggling tourism and hospitality industry’ and said it was ‘imperative’ that this policy is implemented for as short a time as possible.
He says: “While the highest priority for businesses across the industry continues to be the health and safety of customers and staff, we implore Government to fully explore all options available such as air bridges and extensive testing, so that international tourists can return as soon as safely possible. If the 14-day quarantine measures need to be in place longer-term, our industry will need significant and extended support.”
The idea of ‘air bridges’ is also being championed, which would see agreements made with countries with low R numbers to let passengers travel between them without going into quarantine.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UKHospitality said that as a ‘bare minimum’ there needed to be an indication of when these measures will be lifted.
She said: “The basis of any quarantine conditions must be science-led and backed with a clear set of criteria for the length of their imposition. The imposition of a quarantine period will inevitably damage international visitor travel, and the longer it is in place, the more damage it will wreak.
“There needs to be, as a bare minimum, an indication of how long measures might be in place, to allow businesses to plan, and criteria should be set out, so that we know what criteria must be fulfilled to enable removal or change to quarantine.”