One of the first things many governments did when the coronavirus pandemic began was to shut down their borders and restrict travel. This definitely helped with flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19, but now people are starting to wonder when they will be allowed to travel again. So if you’re one of them, read on to find out more.
What’s a travel ban and why is it in place?
What exactly a travel ban entails varies from country to country (1), but the basic definition is that it is when one country refuses to let anyone who is not a citizen of that country to enter it. In terms of the COVID-19 Travel Bans put in place around the world, this could mean all international travel is banned, and no flights, trains, boats, or any other form of international travel is permitted unless it is essential.
In some cases, such as in the UK and South Africa, a travel ban includes all domestic travel as well. Some countries allow people to enter, depending on certain restrictions, such as whether it is deemed essential, whether the person entering is related to a citizen or permanent resident, or only if the person entering goes into a two-week quarantine upon arrival.
Some have called this a drastic move but as imported cases of COVID-19 have been largely responsible for resurgences (2) in areas that have eased their restrictions, forcing them to reintroduce lockdown restrictions, most governments are standing firm on whatever international and domestic travel policies they have put in place in order to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Can the government keep the ban until 2020?
While it seems unlikely that the travel ban will last until the end of the year, a statement by Health Secretary Matt Hancock that overseas summer holidays would need to be cancelled means it is likely that international travel won’t be permitted until sometime near September.
There has been some talk of "air bridge" agreements (3), which would allow British travelers to enter countries without needing to quarantine when they arrive or return home, but despite several European countries announcing that they’ve reopened their borders (4), this hasn’t happened.
With the current policy being that any international arrivals have to self-isolate for two weeks, it is unlikely that anyone will be taking an overseas trip any time soon — unless they absolutely have to of course.
On the other hand, lockdown restrictions have been eased enough that people are now allowed unlimited outdoor exercise, “drive to other destinations” and “sit in the sun." They can only do this with the members of their own household though.
This means that day trips that still allow you to follow social distancing rules, such as a visit to the countryside, a walk in the park, or even a day at the beach, are now possible.
For the time being, overnight stays are not permitted but domestic holiday destinations such as campsites, holiday parks, and UK hotels are gearing themselves for a summer reopening from July 4. This means Britons will hopefully be able to still get a short break after weeks or months of being stuck at home.
Can we expect an increase in prices for travelling?
This one is hard to determine. Airlines, train services, and cruises will need to adopt new policies to comply with social distancing rules. This would include measures such as allowing an empty seat (5) between individual travellers or groups of people travelling together. And that would logically lead to increased prices so that they don’t lose money on whatever tourist service they offer.
But then there is the fact that so many people are tightening their belts due to the economic effect of lockdown on everything, from the cost of basic goods and services to whether or not you have a job. And this means the travel industry will need to entice people to part with the little bit of cash they may have — which they'll do by reducing prices wherever they can. So the answer is: expect increases, but watch out closely for specials and bargains!
We were all thinking that soon everything was going to be back to normality, well unfortunately for us, it's not the case. Numbers of Covid cases has increased and as a result we now have to quarantine for 14 days when leaving to some places.
For example travelling to France, you will have to quarantine 14 days at your arrival there, and 14 days after being back at the UK.
No the real question is, will this carry through until next year ?
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Travel is admittedly and understandably difficult at the moment. But as long as you remember to keep social distancing rules in mind at all times, keep your plans as flexible as they can be, and keep checking and rechecking everything from updated prices to updates on any restrictions related to that region, form of travel, and the pandemic in general — it is more than possible. Just remember to clear your cookies before every search!
And most importantly, remember that washing your hands is the best way to slow the spread and prevent yourself from getting ill. But if you're not near a tap and soap then our affordable, direct-to-consumer, 75% alcohol hand sanitiser is a fantastic substitute.