Are half-term breaks in the UK permitted?

Families planning a half-term staycation must follow a series of coronavirus-related rules
Families planning a half-term staycation must follow a series of coronavirus-related rules - (Copyright PA Wire)
15:21pm, Fri 09 Oct 2020
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Families planning a half-term staycation must follow a series of coronavirus-related rules.

Here the PA news agency looks at what restrictions are in place for people embarking on a holiday within the UK.

– What rules apply in England?

People in England who live outside of areas with local restrictions are able to go on holiday to other areas without restrictions, in groups of up to six people as long as they maintain social distancing with people they do not live with.

Larger groups are only allowed if everyone is from the same household or support bubble.

If living in or visiting an area with local restrictions, such as in the North, holidaymakers cannot share private accommodation or socialise indoors with people they do not live with.

There are no restrictions on how far you are allowed to travel for a holiday.

– Can I visit Scotland?

New national and local restrictions were unveiled earlier this week by the Scottish Government.

It said it is “not imposing mandatory travel restrictions at this stage” and pre-booked trips do not need to be cancelled.

But residents in the central belt of the country are advised to “think carefully about whether they need to travel outside of the region they live in”.

You can only stay in self-catered accommodation such as caravans, apartments and holiday cottages with your own household.

Spending the night in a hotel or B&B is only allowed if people from different households do not share rooms.

– What about Wales?

Holidays in areas under local restrictions are only permitted by people who already live there.

Residents of those areas are not allowed to leave for non-essential reasons, such as going on holiday in another region.

People who live in areas of Wales not subjected to local rules – or other parts of the UK – are allowed to visit locations in Wales where special regulations are not in place.

But they must not socialise indoors in groups of more than six people without a good reason.

– What are the rules in Northern Ireland?

Holidays are allowed in Northern Ireland, but people who do not live together are not permitted to share private accommodation or socialise indoors.

Local restrictions exist in Derry City and Strabane.

Non-essential travel in or out of those areas is banned.

– What happens if I am contacted by NHS Track and Trace while on holiday?

If you are told you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, you should self-isolate, alert your accommodation provider and return home as soon as possible.

If public transport is the only available option to get home, you should call 111 for advice.

– How about if I become unwell?

People who develop coronavirus symptoms while on holiday are advised to self-isolate in their accommodation.

If that is not possible, they should travel home in a way that minimises the risk of infecting others.

– Will I lose money if I cannot take a planned holiday because of local restrictions?

The Government advises accommodation providers to offer alternative dates or a refund in such cases, although acknowledges this will depend on the terms and conditions of bookings.

Some accommodation providers were criticised for not issuing refunds following the outbreak of Covid-19, but many such as Cottages.com and Hoseasons have changed their policies.

– What is the situation with travel insurance?

Travel insurance policies bought after the pandemic was officially declared are likely to contain exclusions for Covid-related claims.

But holders of policies bought before then may be able to claim for additional expenses if their trip can no longer go ahead because of the virus.

– Are visitor attractions open?

Most of the UK’s most popular attractions are open, such as the British Museum, Edinburgh Castle, Chester Zoo and Stonehenge.

The National Trust has opened more than 135 gardens and parks, 57 houses and more than 200 coast and countryside car parks across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Many of the sites are operating at a reduced capacity and require pre-booking.

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