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Published on Monday, February 22, 2021

No overseas holidays before 17 May, says PM






Overseas holidays will not be allowed until after May 17 at the earliest according to the Prime Minister as he outlined the 'roadmap out of lockdown' to members of parliament today.


He said leisure travel overseas could restart in May at the earliest, alongside the reopening of hotels and B&Bs in England.


The domestic holiday market will be the first to reopen from mid-April when restrictions on self-contained holiday accommodation - where indoor facilities are not shared with other households - are lifted.


However, the reopening date of 12 April - which the PM stressed would be 'from the earliest' - means UK accommodation providers miss out on bookings for the Easter weekend.


Addressing the House of Commons Boris Johnson said a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce will report by 12 April so that people can 'plan for summer', but it will resume no earlier than 17 May.


The PM's speech was met with a quick response from Theresa May, the PM's predecessor, speaking on behalf of her constituents in Maidenhead and the aviation sector. She said publishing a review of international travel by mid-April would not give people enough time to plan their summer holidays or for the aviation industry to prepare and called for the date to be brought forward.


Boris Johnson said the 12 April deadline for the Travel Taskforce will give people time to 'make their plans for the summer'.


"If we can meet these dates there's every chance of an aviation recovery later this year," he said.


The unlocking of restrictions will be subject to 'four' reviews, the second of which will be the unlocking of international travel which is 'vital for many businesses which have been hardest hit, including retail, hospitality, tourism and aviation'.


"A successor the Global Travel Taskforce will report by 12 April so that people can plan for the summer," he said.


He said the third review will consider the status of Covid certification.


The roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions, with a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions, followed by seven days' notice of the restrictions to be eased.


The priority for the first step will be reopening all schools. The Stay at Home message will remain, but people will be able to leave their home for recreation outdoors, such as a coffee or picnic with their household, or with one person outside their household.


As part of Step One, there will be further changes from 29 March - the week in which most schools break up for Easter. Outdoor gatherings of either six people, or two households, will be allowed, including in private gardens.


At this point, the Stay at Home order will end, although many lockdown restrictions will remain. People will be asked to continue to work from home where possible, limit movement as much as possible and overseas travel will remain banned, except for a small number of reasons.


Step Two, from no earlier than 12 April, will see non-essential retail, hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres allowed to reopen.


Most outdoor attractions and settings will reopen, as will indoor leisure facilities, but only for people on their own or with their household. Hospitality venues will only be able to serve people outdoors.


Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as holiday lets where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, will also be able to reopen.


Step Three, from no earlier than 17 May, will see most social contact rules lifted - although gatherings of more than 30 people will remain illegal - with 'the rest of the accommodation sector' allowed to reopen. Outdoor performances, such as outdoor cinemas and theatres will be able to reopen, as will indoor hospitality venues and cinemas.


The fourth, and final step of the PM's roadmap, will start no earlier than 21 June will see all legal limits on social contact removed, with nightclubs reopening and restrictions lifted on large events and performances.


By Louise Longman, Contributing Editor (UK)

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