The £5,000 fine for going on holiday
The penalty is part of new legislation published last night that will be voted on by MPs on Thursday and, if approved, will become law on Monday.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 were published as the government announced plans to extend the Coronavirus Act for another six months.
The regulations state that it will be illegal to leave the country ‘without a reasonable excuse’.
Permitted reasons to travel include work, study, elite sport, fulfilling a legal obligation overseas, providing care, or requiring medical treatment overseas.
People buying or selling a property outside of the UK can also leave the country – meaning many second home owners will be able to travel to their properties.
Under the current roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, the earliest date people in England could go abroad for a holiday would be 17 May. However, fears of a third wave of coronavirus in Europe have put this date in doubt.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has warned that the UK should be “under no illusion” that it will feel the effects of a rising number of cases on the continent.
Non-essential travel is currently banned from the UK. Anyone leaving the country must complete and carry a new form stating that their trip is permitted under national lockdown rules – or be fined up to £6,400.
A hotel quarantine regime for arrivals in England from ‘red list’ countries began on 15 February. Hotel quarantine costs £1,750 per person for a 10-day stay. All arrivals in Scotland must go into hotel quarantine.
The government’s global travel taskforce is considering a traffic light system for international travel when the ban on leaving the country is lifted. This might allow tourists to travel to destinations deemed low risk.
The new regulations will also mean protests will be considered a ‘permitted exception’ to the ban on mass gatherings.
People taking part in illegal mass gatherings will face fines of between £400 and £6,400 depending on whether they have been fined for taking part in a mass gathering previously.