It's been a long winter mired with two lockdowns, but the end is in sight. Not only are we approaching spring, but the Prime Minister's announcement mapping the path to freedom has given many of us hope that summer 2021 is indeed something to look forward to. Transport secretary Grant Shapps has also given the first positive signs that overseas travel might be an option this summer.
“I’m not telling people that they shouldn’t book summer holidays now, it’s the first time that I’ve been able to say that for many months,” he told Sky News in April.
For many of us, nothing feels more appealing than the idea of going on holiday, forgetting our worries and enjoying a change of scenery beyond our immediate four walls. But is it likely this year? The short answer is yes, if the data holds up. There are four key tests for restrictions easing - the vaccine programme needs to remain on target and continue making a difference to hospitalisations and the death rate. The number of cases needs to stay low enough not to overwhelm the NHS and we need to be sure that there are no difficult variants on the horizon. If all goes to plan, then we can expect a stellar summer ahead.
When can we travel in England?
Boris Johnson announced on 22 February that staycations can take place from 12 April. Members of the same household can stay in self-contained accommodation from this date, so that includes self-catered rentals, second homes, caravans or camping. If you need inspiration, read our guides to the best log cabins, glamping destinations or the best group holiday houses (although remember that you must be part of the same household).
When can I stay in a hotel again?
English hotels, hostels and B&Bs will open no earlier than 17 May. We've rounded-up the best UK hotels with pools, as well as a list of 12 UK destinations that could be abroad. For something a little more indulgent, read our guide of the country's ultimate spa hotels, or if you're clamouring for a trip to London, then browse our guide to the capital's best and most luxe options.
When can I travel abroad again?
The earliest date to travel overseas is 17 May, but a lot rests on this date. The travel industry is understandably keen to get tourism moving again before the peak summer months, but it is still unconfirmed as to whether travellers will need to have had both Covid-19 vaccinations before they leave. These 'Covid passports' are currently under discussion, but nothing has been decided.
The government has also confirmed that after 17 May countries will be placed in a traffic light system with green, amber and red lists that would set out whether, and where, travellers must isolate on returning to England. This will be reviewed regularly, taking into account Covid infection rates, the prevalence of variants, and the progress of vaccination programmes. The Guardian reports that the light system will be reviewed for potential changes on 28 June, 31 July and 1 October.
Essentially, nothing is definite. All dates are subjects to date and things could change quickly.
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