Spain reopens with quarantine-free borders
Brits seeking some summer sun and sea can now fly or take the train to Spain for a summer holiday.
But with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) still advising against all but essential travel abroad, is it a good idea to book a trip?
Spanish borders now open
Spain suffered one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world with more than 28,000 deaths. However, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez placed the country in one of the strictest lockdowns, with people only allowed out of their homes to buy food.
The state of emergency declared on 14 March has now ended and the country is slowly returning to normal.
Spain’s borders are now open to EU countries except Portugal, as well as Schengen Area members outside the bloc and the UK.
FCO travel advice
A big issue for potential holidaymakers from the UK is that, despite the move by the Spanish government, FCO advice hasn’t changed.
The UK Government is still advising against all non-essential international travel – including to Spain.
The ban was initially put in place to avoid Brits getting stuck abroad as flight routes shut down, and is under constant review.
Package holidays to Spain won’t be going ahead until the advice changes – but independent travellers are free to book flights and trips.
However, travel insurance policies won’t pay out if you decide to travel against FCO advice – this means anyone jetting off to Spain, or anywhere else, at the moment is uninsured.
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, says: “Some airlines seem determined to fly to Spain in the next few weeks despite the FCO advice, but carriers should continue to offer free rebooking to customers who would invalidate their travel insurance if they flew and face two weeks quarantine on their return.
“The FCO must also, finally, provide some clarity on when its travel ban will remain in force until, so holiday providers and airlines know what dates it is appropriate to sell flights and holidays for.”
Another issue for travellers is that of quarantine.
It was announced yesterday that Brits are no longer required to quarantine upon arrival in Spain. This means holidaymakers are free to go to the beach and enjoy other attractions that have reopened since lockdown, although they’d need to observe social distancing and hygiene regulations.
However, as the rules stand at the moment, Brits will have to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to the UK. Anyone found breaking the rules could be fined up to £1,000.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that the UK would review its quarantine measures for foreign visitors on 29 June. He said the Government was “looking at all options”, including the opening of air bridges with other countries.
Such travel corridors would allow Brits to skip quarantine when returning to the UK.