History of Travel Guidelines to England and What it is Like Today

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Written by Ray

June 15, 2022

Travel Guidelines: Various travel restrictions have been placed in the UK in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Many of these include quarantine protocols, mandatory lockdowns, COVID-19 testing, and imposed safety measures like wearing masks and social distancing.

Two years into the pandemic, there have been many factors that led to changes in travel guidelines in the UK, particularly in England.  Here is a brief history of travel restrictions to England and how is it now today:

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First National Lockdown (March to June 2020)

On March 23, 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced stopping non-essential contact and travel by imposing a lockdown in the UK, and ordering people to “stay at home”. Travellers from abroad were required to show confirmation of a negative Covid-19 test before setting off. They must also isolate for 10 days unless they test negative after five days.

Minimal Lockdown Restrictions (July to August 2020 )

Starting the month of July 2020, England has eased restrictions as pubs are reopened, restaurants, hairdressers, and other hospitality businesses were permitted to reopen for the general public. Even gatherings with up to thirty people are allowed but the UK government still recommends avoiding gatherings larger than six and travelling.

Reimposing Restrictions (September 2020)

On September 22, 2020, the UK Prime Minister announced new restrictions in England requiring workers to work from home and a 10 PM curfew for the hospitality sector. Pubs, bars, and restaurants were also told to shut down between 10 PM to 6 AM. By the end of the month, UK Prime Minister announced that the UK is at a “critical moment” in the crisis and will impose any further restrictions if necessary including travel restrictions.

Second National Lockdown (November to December 2020)

On November 5, 2020, the second lockdown comes into force in England. After three weeks, UK Prime Minister announced that three households are permitted to meet during a five-day Christmas period. Also, non-essential high street businesses were closed and people are not allowed to meet individuals who are outside their “support bubble”.

Third National Lockdown (January to March 2021)

On January 4, children were advised to return to school after Christmas break but warned people about the potential toughening of restrictions. People are advised to stay at home and if they must travel, they should travel locally instead of abroad.

Gradual Ease of Restrictions (May to July 2021)

Indoor venues were reopened such as pubs, restaurants, and cinemas. 10,000 people were also allowed to attend large outdoor-seated venues like football stadiums. The government also announced on June 14 that they will accelerate the vaccination programme.

Leaving Lockdown (July to December 2021)

On July 6, 2021, legal limits on social contact are removed in England and final closed sectors of the economy reopened like nightclubs. On September 14, the UK government unveiled England’s winter plan for COVID or “Plan B” and by December, Prime Minister announced a move to “Plan B” measures in England due to the spread of the Omicron variant.

Travellers and residents can choose whether or not to wear face masks in public indoor venues under Plan B. Travellers must also have NHS Covid Pass in specific settings.

Present (January 2022 -)

When people travel to England, they do not need to do the following:

  • Complete a UK passenger locator form before travel
  • Take any travel test before travelling or arriving in England
  • Quarantine upon arrival

Looking for a testing provider?

Harley Medic International is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.

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