As the world of travel prepares to reopen for business again, there are many measures in place to ensure countries across the globe don’t experience spikes in COVID-19 cases once holidaymakers begin to head to different destinations for a relaxing break. Of course it’s important to remain alert and take all the necessary personal hygiene precautions, as ever, though there have been several rumours flying around about what holidaying may look like after lockdown.
Some are true, though some aren’t, and below we’ve picked out ten myths about getaways this summer you may have seen recently.
Whilst some destinations, including Goa in India for example, have suggested tourists flying into the local airport will require a COVID-19 certificate, popular resorts across Europe and other long haul holiday spots have not announced any official plans to enforce such rulings.
Holidaymakers feared the process of obtaining said certificate would be time consuming and potentially an extra cost to contend with, but it isn’t something that any major region traditionally most popular with UK tourists has declared.
Most major airlines and airports are encouraging the use of facemasks, though no official announcement has been made to make this mandatory. Think of it like heading to the local supermarket during recent times, some people wear them and some people don’t, though of course it is always advisable to do so to protect both yourself and others around you.
As with other outdoor activities, heading to the beach also won’t require the mandatory use of facemasks, though again you may want to consider doing so.
There have been many rumours about how our experience on aeroplanes may change in a post lockdown world, with the most prominent surrounding the use of the middle seat. Many expected it would be blocked off to ensure social distancing could be followed whilst airborne, though feared the consequent reduced capacity would make it harder to purchase tickets.
However easyJet stated that they will not be blocking off middle seats when their full programme resumes, whilst Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary also confirmed his airline would not resort to such measures, and none of the main UK flight operators have declared anything to that point.
Being able to cool off with a swim in your hotel’s pool is a key part of any holiday, and whilst some worried this could be out of bounds, there are no plans in place enforce a worldwide ban on taking a dip.
The US Centers for Disease Control recently announced that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to people through water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas and it is thought the usual disinfection measures with chlorine and bromine would inactivate the virus in water.
Various measures are being put in place to ensure the safe practice of social distancing at beaches including umbrellas being set a few metres apart, sun loungers fastened to the ground and cordoned off in some areas, whilst regular disinfection will also take place.
However halving the time you’re allowed at the beach by splitting tourists and locals into two separate morning and afternoon slots is not thought to be implemented, but the slightly reduced space will impact capacity, so as ever it’s good to get there extra early to secure the best spot.
Travel insurance coverage is a difficult one provide a blanket response to as the level of your cover depends on the policy you take out, however contrary to some belief, COVID-19 related issues won’t make insurance completely void. Most insurers will cover you if the FCO change their travel advice on a particular destination because of COVID-19, or other issues, as long as you’ve taken it out prior to that advice being communicated.
You’ll find most will cover you for emergency medical expenses and repatriation, though you are advised to always declare any pre-existing conditions when purchasing, particularly as COVID-19 is more serious in situations when pre-existing conditions are present. You should always check what is included in your policy and clarify any parts you don’t understand if needed.
Most holiday destinations are allowing British travellers entry as soon as their borders reopen to tourists in general, which includes many of the popular European spots such as Spain, Italy and France. It’s said to be a reciprocal agreement whereby holidaymakers from those countries will too be permitted entry into the UK as soon as we get the green light.
There has been some communication that Brits will not be permitted entry into some countries, including Greece and Cyprus, by local governments until a further improvement in the UK’s COVID-19 figures which may be true, however this doesn’t mean such a ban will be in place for the entirety of the summer and is likely to be eased as the reopening of travel around the world gathers pace.
Whether you prefer to eat in the restaurants of an all inclusive resort, or the local eateries outside of your hotel, there has been some suggestion that certain ones will only permit tourists to consume food outside. It’s clear some will have their own individual rules, however there has been no official communication that outdoor eating will be enforced worldwide.
You are likely to be expected to follow social distancing and find your table is placed further apart from others compared to the previous norm, though that could be either indoors or out.
Some travellers have expressed concerns that prices may rise once the holiday booking process gets back to normal once again, something of concern given the impact COVID-19 has had on jobs and some peoples' ability to work. The fact of the matter is that certain resorts, cites and countries rely on international tourism to boost their economy and have been hit hard by the recent travel restrictions, though this won't necessarily result in a big increase in prices.
Because some regions are heavily dependent on tourism, this means hoteliers, local attractions and other aspects of holidaying could be motivated to actually decrease some costs in order to tempt tourists back to their destinations and bring much-needed cash into the areas. There will be a need to fill rooms, so hotels need tourists as much as tourists need a holiday!
It was announced by the government that, for the time being, new arrivals back into the UK would have to self-isolate for a period of 14 days in a bid to prevent a second peak should anybody enter with COVID-19 symptoms. This however is not thought to be something that will be enforced for the entirety of the summer and is set to be reviewed every three weeks.
There are also a number of exemptions, including road hauliers and medical officials as well as arrivals from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
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