There has been a lot in the news this last week about the Government’s new traffic light system. But, what does it all mean?
How does the government decide which countries are green, amber or red?
Countries are placed into three tiers within the traffic light system, dependent on Covid-19 related health metrics such as:
- Infection rates in the country.
- Current percentage of country vaccinated.
- The prevalence of Covid-19 variants and the country’s ability to detect them through genomic sequencing.
How often will the list be reviewed?
The government have confirmed that they will review the make-up of the lists every three weeks; in addition they will conduct three major reviews of the restrictions and requirements for each colour in late June, late July, and early October.
A ‘green watchlist’ has also been introduced that will flag any countries at risk of moving from green to amber. You can view this here.
If a destination is on the green list, does that mean I can go on holiday there from the 17th May?
Yes! Just so long as their borders are open to travellers from the UK.
You will need to follow all regulations for traveling to a green destination, including booking and paying for the pre-departure test just prior to your return to the UK, and the PCR test on or before day two after your return to the UK.
If you have a holiday booked, you may well be wondering what the traffic light system means for you. We’ll break it down below.
Travelling to a green country?
If you have a holiday booked to a green country, as long as that destination’s borders are open for International travel and visitors from the UK – and as long as we’re able to fulfil the holiday you’ve booked – your booking can go ahead as planned.
As outlined above, you will need to comply with the necessary testing requirements just before and just after your return to the UK.
If you choose to make the decision not to travel to a green country, then our booking terms and conditions apply and you will be charged cancellation fees. (If you booked under our Flexibility Promise, please have a chat to your specialist about the options!)
Travelling to an amber country?
If you have a holiday booked to an amber country, as long as that destination’s borders are open for International travel and visitors from the UK – and as long as we’re able to fulfil the holiday you’ve booked – your booking can go ahead as planned.
As outlined above, there is a requirement to test before your return, twice after your return to the UK, and you are required to quarantine at home for 10 days after your return. As we are still able to provide you with the travel services you’ve booked, if you choose not to travel, our normal cancellation fees will apply. (If you booked under our Flexibility Promise, please have a chat to your specialist about the options). We completely appreciate that these extra requirements are far from ideal, and if they are going to be problematic for you, please chat to your specialist and we’ll try our best to accommodate any changes that will make travel easier for you.
The FCDO currently advises against travel to countries on the amber list, which means your travel insurance may be invalidated; however there are travel insurance providers out there who will cover you if travelling against FCDO advice – ask us for more details).
The above is also true if a country you are due to travel to is changed from green to amber.
Travelling to a red country?
If you are due to travel imminently with us to a country on the red list then you are entitled to a full refund or postponement of your booking to a later date.
If your holiday booking to a red country isn’t for a couple of months, then we will be in touch with you to discuss your options. Please do feel free to give your specialist a call to talk things through if you’re concerned though! We’re always here to help.
The above is also true if a country you are due to travel to is changed from amber to red.
Countries currently on the green list
There’s not too many just yet unfortunately (especially those which will let us in!) However, with the government looking to review countries every three weeks, we’re really confident here at HA that this is the first step to the reopening of travel that we’ve all been waiting for.
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Israel and Jerusalem
- New Zealand
- Portugal (inc the Azores and Madeira)
- South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
- St Helena, Ascension and Tristan de Cunha
Please note: We will endeavour to keep this list updated, however for a guaranteed ‘up-to-the-minute’ list, please visit the government website here.
Individual destination entry requirements
The above are the restrictions put in place by the UK government. When travelling you will also need to ensure you are complying with the travel restrictions, border measures and entry requirements of your destination. Please ensure you check the destination advice your the country you plan to travel to here.
As always, we’re at the end of the phone on 01242 253 073 or email ready to answer any questions or worries you might have.
This might be a fairly slow and cautious start to travel reopening, but it’s still a start! It’s a first step back to getting away on that holiday we all need. And don’t forget, our Flexibility Promise is in place to give you the confidence to get a holiday booked for later in the year.