Travel rules: How UK staycations will be affected by self-isolation changes

Sajid Javid defends end of mandatory Covid self-isolation

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On February 24, many coronavirus restrictions in the UK have come to an end. This means you will not legally be required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19, and you will not need to take daily tests if you have contact with someone with the virus, though it is recommended. However, COVID-19 could still upend your UK staycation.

In an update, explains: “You will not be legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19.

“Stay at home if you can and avoid contact with other people.

“You will not have to take daily tests or be legally required to self-isolate following contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

“The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will end. If you were told to self-isolate before 24 February you can still make a claim up to April 6.”

However, hotels and guest accommodations, such as holiday parks, are being advised not to admit any guests who have symptoms of coronavirus or who have had a positive test.

Guidance for hotels in the UK states: “Do not admit customers who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

“If a guest staying at your accommodation facility arrives with symptoms, or tells you they have COVID-19 (or need to self-isolate) before or when checking in, talk to them about your policy for self-isolation.

“It may not always be possible or safe for guests to self-isolate in a hotel or guest accommodation facility.”

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However, hotels are not allowed to ask personal medical questions, and therefore it is up to the guests to disclose a positive test if they do not have symptoms which are obvious to others.

Accommodation providers across the UK are being asked to make a plan for what to do if a guest has COVID-19 when at their facility.

They may provide an option for quarantine at the hotel, as long as this does not increase the risk for other customers.

Your hotel will let you know the details of their COVID-19 policy, but if you do need to stay on and isolate at the accommodation, this may be at your own expense. advises hoteliers: “Make sure guests know about any additional costs they might need to pay. For example, if they need to self-isolate and can’t travel home, so they need to stay in your facility for longer than they planned to.

“Unless there are different terms in the booking agreement, the guest would usually be expected to pay the costs of a longer stay.”

As self-isolation rules are not a legal requirement anymore, guests will have the option to leave the premises and return home rather than isolate there, if they are well enough.

Hotels have the right to create their own policy around Covid, and this includes displaying an NHS QR code so that customers can check in to their facility. advises accommodation providers: “If you choose to display an NHS QR code, you do not have to ask customers to check-in, or turn them away if they refuse.

“However, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details, for those who ask to check-in but who do not have access to a smartphone or who prefer not to use the app.”

Hotels will also have the right to use the NHS Covid Pass to check the status of patrons for events, to determine whether they are fully vaccinated or have recently recorded a negative test result.

The same rules can be applied to their staff. states: “As checking people’s COVID-19 status is no longer a legal requirement, you could decide to apply your own conditions for entry.”

What happens if I choose not to go on my holiday due to a positive Covid test?

There is no one rule that fits all UK holidays, and the Covid policy will depend on your individual provider.

Some holiday accommodations might offer you a refund, while others may allow you to receive a voucher for a future stay worth the amount of your original holiday.

However, the uncertainty around Covid restrictions in the future is why travel insurance is just as important for domestic travel as it is for international holidays.

According to insurer LV: “Although you won’t need travel insurance to pay for emergency medical treatment, you’ll still need it in case your holiday has to be cancelled, your baggage gets stolen or your hotel goes out of business.”

It adds: “Remember, the costs of cancelling a trip in the UK can be just as expensive as cancelling a trip abroad.

“For peace of mind that you’ll be able to recover any costs if you can’t go on your trip, make sure you’ve got travel insurance in place.”

Some travel insurers offer certain protections for coronavirus, but it is vital you check the terms and conditions of the policy before purchasing.

Much like with international travel insurance, for maximum protection, the best option is to purchase your policy as soon as you book your holiday.

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