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Published on Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Travel ban to be extended to millions more in England






 


A holiday ban is expected to be extended to millions more people in England this week due to a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

Already around 40% of England is living under tough Tier 4 restrictions, which include a 'stay at home order'.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce an extension of Tier 4 in the House of Commons at 2.30pm this afternoon.

Areas expected to move into Tier 4 include the West Midlands and Hartlepool and possibly parts of the East Midlands, including Northamptonshire and Leicestershire and areas of the West Midlands metropolitan county, according to the BBC.

A number of areas in Lancashire, including Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle and Ribble Valley could also move into the highest tier.

There has been speculation that even tougher restrictions could be introduced for those already living in Tier 4 areas including London and the southeast of England, but Matt Hancock said this morning that he wasn't considering tightening measures.

Does Tier 4 include a ban on foreign holidays?

Tier 4 restrictions have caused confusion among the travel trade and holidaymakers about whether they include a legal ban on overseas travel or if residents are simply advised not to go abroad.

While the published guidance clearly states that people living in Tier 4 must not travel anywhere else in the UK and must not go on holiday overseas, the official Tier 4 rules put to Parliament on 20 December don't make any reference to foreign holidays.

But they do state: "No person who lives in the Tier 4 area may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse." The published list of 'reasonable excuses' does not include holidays, which would suggest that they are banned.

Speaking on LBC radio this morning, Matt Hancock said: "We are very clear that in Tier 4 people should stay at home."

However, without a clear government ban on travel, some tour operators and airlines are refusing refunds to those living in Tier 4 who want to cancel their holidays.

For instance, TUI is offering free refunds to those who have booked its own holidays on its own airline, but it is only offering free changes to those who have booked packages on third-party airlines.

The lack of reference to a ban on travel in the legislation has left travel agents confused about whether customers are entitled to refunds or not.

The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating airlines that have refused cash refunds to passengers who have been unable to travel due to lockdown restrictions.
 

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  • no airline should refund anything

    they can't afford to. There is no magic money pit. Funds paid for airfares are never held in trust, they are spent.

    By Michael Anderson, Wednesday, December 30, 2020

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