NEWS: UK hotels plan for reopen in July, Is Iceland leading the way for reopening tourism? & UK quarantine shambles but hope emerging

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UK hotels plan reopening from July

The government has been fairly tight-lipped about what businesses exactly will be allowed to open in the final stage of the lockdown, when hospitality businesses reopen potentially as early as 4 July. However, it does look like this will include hotels, so that staycation could well be on the cards soon. On TLFL we have been running articles on our favourite staycation hotels and will continue to highlight them over the next few weeks. You can find most of the previous reviews here. 

Lympstone Manor

After receiving an email today about the reopening of Lympstone Manor on the 4 July, I had a quick look at what other hotels are planning for their return. Lympstone have said they are using the time before July to make sure they have complied with all recommendations for social distancing and safety.

Lympstone Manor said “There will certainly be a range of new measures in place: social distancing to ensure that the required space is allowed to give the maximum safety; an even closer watch on personal hygiene, with sanitary and cleansing products widely available throughout the Manor; a new and more thorough-than-ever deep-cleansing regime; as well as other measures that we are still working on, following government guidance and going beyond.”

Other staycation type hotels that are showing a provisional re-opening date are:

Gara Rock hotel suite

 

Is Iceland leading the way for re-opening tourism?

Ben from US blog One Mile at a Time has been writing about his plans to hopefully visit Iceland when it is safe. Putting aside the inevitable outrage provoked on the post that someone may at some point in the future travel when it is safe, Iceland is an interesting choice. For a start, Iceland have managed the outbreak well with only 1,802 cases of the virus and 10 deaths but also relies heavily on tourism. Therefore they have come up with a plan to safely open again for tourism. I think they are probably getting it about right in terms of how to pitch Iceland for tourists to return. I think looking at the UK government’s plans below, they should perhaps have a look at Iceland as an example.

Measure planned include:

On arrival you need to

  • Go into a 14-day quarantine or
  • Take a COVID-19 test upon arrival or
  • Provide a certificate of a recent negative COVID-19 test
  • Download a contact tracing app

The tests will be free for the first two weeks and then they plan to charge. The results are available within 5 hours and tourists are free to go to their accommodation whilst waiting for the results. Hotels have set up specific areas for guests that test positive. I think for me this is the only flaw,  letting tourists carry on until they get their results. Surely confining them to a hotel room until they have the results is not unreasonable for 5 hours?

What do you think of Iceland’s proposals? Would you be tempted to visit when we are allowed to trave again? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

 

UK quarantine shambles continues

The UK government recently announced their plans to put all UK arrivals into quarantine for 14 days, thereby killing any hope of recovery for aviation anytime soon. A few months ago I would have been very strongly in favour of this, now this seems a very blunt tool several months too late. What is the point of putting someone flying into the UK from a country with virtually no COVID-19 into quarantine when they are entering a country still in partial lockdown anyway? It makes far more sense to be risk-based. I think WHO should devise some sort of global index of the risk per country which could then inform which countries we should allow entry to. For example, Riskline has a worldwide team of travel risk analysts across 12 countries who monitor and review issues daily to produce a country based risk chart.

The uncertainty of the length of time these regulations may last could be the final nail in the coffin for UK aviation and has been strongly criticised by both airlines and aviation staff unions. 

Details on what it will actually involve seem to vary from one day to the next. First, it was said that France would be exempt, now that has been refuted. It does seem that some sense is prevailing though and the government has been touting “air bridges” as a possibility. These are also sometimes called “travel bubbles” and involve two or more countries deciding that they are both equally low risk and allowing travel between those countries. Australia and New Zealand have been discussing this and several Baltic countries have already established one.

They have now said in the document released on Monday that “All journeys within the Common Travel Area will also be exempt from these measures”. The CTA includes the U.K., Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Ireland.

So far no date for introduction has been confirmed, just that it will be early June. Hopefully, the government will come up with a more intelligent strategy by the time they actually announce the details.

9 Comments on "NEWS: UK hotels plan for reopen in July, Is Iceland leading the way for reopening tourism? & UK quarantine shambles but hope emerging"

  1. I agree the UK is late in introducing a 14 quarantine period for people arriving in the UK, but not too late. It should have been in place before we went into lockdown, as it was in other countries.

    The idea of allowing travels from low risk countries in without quarantine sounds fine in principle but travellers from New Zealand, a very low risk country, still have to transit in another country and mix at airports and on the in bound leg with travellers from potentially high risk countries.

    A negative test result on arrival is no help with an infection that has up to 5 days incubation period.

  2. Sounds good or would tests at or before departures be better. Results would be available almost on arrival? But how do you get home if positive?

  3. The whole testing thing raises so many questions. I only know one Covid case so far and he was entirely asymptomatic (was only discovered through routine testing when in hospital for something completely unrelated) – assuming this is the case with a lot of people, the test on arrival (or even on departure) might turn out to be a huge gamble. What would happen travel insurance-wise if you do test positive? Or if only one person in a couple tests positive? Will you be reimbursed for the hotel costs (as it would definitely be too late to cancel bookings)? Those aspects would certainly put me off.

    • That’s if you can even GET insurance that would cover Covid-19 related issues…

      • I have an annual travel health insurance policy and my insurer says that coronavirus-related treatment is covered. I doubt very much, however, that my travel cancellation policy would cover the sort of costs I mentioned above.

  4. mrglobetrotteruk | 21 May 2020 at 10:03 am | Reply

    Hi,

    You might want to amend the about the traveling to Iceland post. You are stating that “Measure in place…” There is no measure in place. Instead;

    “The Icelandic government also announced on 12 May that it intends to ease restrictions on international arrivals from 15 June at the latest. Details have still to be finalised” from https://www.covid.is/

    It is intent and very much a work in progress, far from a definite policy.

    Also, saying that the UK should take an example or look at the Iceland policy does not make any sense. Iceland has a population of 365,000 as opposed to the UK has 66,000.000. Iceland has annual tourist traffic just over 2M, and the UK has well over 30M. It is not likely that you could apply anything from what Iceland is planning to do in terms of incoming tourists to any plans of the UK.

    Heathrow alone handles 8M passengers monthly. Almost the entire population of Iceland crosses Heathrow airport every day. Imagine even if just half of that would need to be tested or quarantined for 14 days as an option. Who would pay for these tests? How long would it take to do this many tests? Where would they do these tests? And where would they self quarantine for 14 days?

    I love your blog, I just want to make sure there is no chance of misunderstanding.

    • I have changed in place to “planned”. While the UK has a very different scale of passengers I don’t think anyone believes that a 14 day quarantine is sustainable for more than a few months. Somehow we need to work out something that is as safe as possible but manageable on a large scale for a long period of time.

  5. Just want to agree with you Michele on both BA and quarantine but hopefully the air bridge scheme will work with particular countries. My suspicion is that this is a saving gambit as there has been a deafening silence since the Gov notified a travel quarantine.

    In passing do you have any news from BA regarding extension of privilege status? My wife will doubtless be granted Gold in august as she would have hit it this month but for Catania cancellation. I am up in November and have been unable to fly for several months to get to silver, though usually that is guaranteed for 1 year after gold.

    • Hi Paul. I would be expecting news in the next couple of weeks but generally BA are using discretion even with the blanket policy dates. If you had flights that were cancelled by BA that meant you did not make it, they will usually give you Gold but they do need a lot of info like ticket numbers etc so make sure you have it all to hand.

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