Lockdown restrictions are being eased across England, Wales, and most of Scotland today as part of the third stage of the roadmap out of lockdown. Many have been eagerly awaiting this phase, which includes loosening international travel restrictions. Thousands of Brits are already jetting off to pastures new to enjoy their newfound freedom.
There are now twelve countries that travellers can head to that are on the government’s green list. These are countries where no quarantine is required upon return, including Israel and Portugal. However, many countries are still on the amber and red lists created by the government. Travel to these destinations is advised against, and travellers to these countries will require travellers to quarantine upon return.
Confidence returning according to travel officials
With many people heading to airports to take their first trip abroad in over a year, travel industry officials hope this is the start of a dramatic recovery. Senior officials from British Airways and Ryanair have said that passenger confidence is already returning, with flights already very busy for green list destinations.
Speaking to the BBC, the Chief Executive of BA, Sean Doyle, said this third stage of lockdown easing was a ‘small step in the right direction’ for the travel industry. He added, "We're looking forward to a broader recovery, but today is an important milestone."
Also speaking to the BBC, Michael O'Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair, said that the signs of a rebound within the industry were clear to see. O'Leary added that bookings stood at around half a million a week in early April, but this had now rocketed to 1.5 million a week.
Thomas Cook, however, did err on the side of caution, with officials from the travel company saying the number of bookings was still small, and the majority were for Portugal.
Many travellers who are jetting off this week have expressed excitement over the prospect of enjoying a holiday again. Some have been through a chaotic few months after booking their breaks, with many not knowing whether to cancel. However, now that travel restrictions have finally eased, many will now be heading off to enjoy a long-awaited break.
People must exercise caution over lockdown easing
The ability to travel for leisure again marks a significant milestone for the nation. However, there are still concerns about the general easing of lockdown because of the Indian variant of Covid. Health officials are concerned that the considerable easing of restrictions today could result in a surge of new cases due to the variant.
As of today, people can mix indoors at hospitality venues and hug one another, spend time indoors with each other at their homes, and get back to a more normal way of life. However, with experts still unsure about the transmissibility of the Indian covid variant, the Prime Minister has urged the public to exercise caution despite restrictions lifting.