On 22 May, the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the introduction of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers returning to the UK from abroad with effect from 8th June.
Irrespective of this new restriction, the guidance issued on 4th April 2020 by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth regarding its advice relating to travel from the UK to foreign countries remains in force.
This guidance advises against all non-essential travel and the duration of this advice has been specified as being for an ‘indefinite” period. Effectively, this is the confirmation from the UK Government that it is not prepared to commit to a specific date upon which it believes the restrictions may be lifted. However, this advice can be removed at any time and, accordingly, is only considered to relate to travel that is ‘imminent’.
Whilst there is no legal definition of ‘imminent', and each tour operator has its own process for managing future departures, imminent travel is generally considered to be travel within the next few days. In accordance with the guidelines issued by the ABTA, Hargreaves and Nurse Holidays trading as Just Sardinia, Just Sicily and Just Corsica have stipulated a 14 day period as the limit for ‘imminent travel’, meaning that clients will only be entitled to request a refund of the amount paid for their holiday if the scheduled travel date to their destination is 14 days or less from the UK FCO advice being current. Accordingly, for any enquiry relating to the cancellation / amendment of a holiday where the departure date is more than 14 days ahead of that enquiry, the normal Terms and Conditions relating to cancellations will still apply.
Accordingly, we encourage our clients to pay the balance of their holiday cost as normal as we are still hopeful that they will be able to enjoy their holiday as planned, particularly if their flights are still scheduled to operate and their accommodation has not given any indication that it will not be fully open and receiving guests on their holiday dates. In the worst-case scenario, if the current FCO travel advice continues to apply on the holiday dates, clients will be entitled to cancel. As Just Sardinia, Just Sicily and Just Corsica are ABTA members and an ATOL protected tour operator, all monies paid to us are protected under the UK Government-backed insurance scheme.
As an alternative to contemplating cancellation, we would encourage our clients to consider postponing their holiday to a later date in 2020 or in 2021 where possible, although this may have price implications depending on dates and availability of accommodation and on flight availability. If this alternative is of interest, please do let us know as soon as possible and we can propose possible alternatives based on your criteria. Unfortunately, however, if you were to cancel before the 14 days prior to the first day of the holiday booked with us, we regret that our normal terms and conditions apply.
However, on 17th May, Italy’s Prime Minister announced that Italy will be easing its border restrictions from the 3rd June with France programmed to follow on 15th June.
Together, these announcements will mean that, if the FCO advice is lifted, UK residents will be free to travel to and from Sardinia, Sicily, and Elba from 3rd June - and potentially to and from Corsica from 15th June, albeit that passengers will be required to self-isolate on their return to the UK.
We do fully understand that many of our clients will have an obligation to return to work at the end of their holiday and that this quarantine requirement will introduce a major hurdle to their holiday plans. For those clients who envisage that they will not be able to take their holidays as planned due to this restriction, we would be happy to assist in trying to find suitable, alternative holiday arrangements by postponing their holiday to later in 2020 or 2021. We can’t guarantee that this will be possible nor that there will not be financial implications, but the imposition of this quarantine regulation is not considered to be a legally justifiable reason for cancelling holidays.
Hotels will be required to implement new health and hygiene protocols and social distancing (1m) rules which are put in place for guests’ safety and peace of mind.
We are being constantly updated by our accommodation partners as to the specifics of the protocols they are adopting and, as such, can reassure our customers if they have concerns in this regard.
We do appreciate that these are unsettling times made worse by inaccuracies in the reporting of the consequences of the situation by certain elements of the media which is creating further confusion. We would therefore urge you to contact us prior to making any decisions regarding your forthcoming holiday in order that the circumstances relating to your specific arrangements can be discussed.
Below are the links to the UK FCO website guidance to travel and to the ABTA guidance on travel to countries affected by the travel advice issued by the UK FCO
The above information is believed to be correct at the time of issue 10:45 27/05/2020
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