Boris Johnson has announced the government’s new three-tier lockdown system for the UK, in which areas are given a ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ alert based on their coronavirus risk.
Each tier comes with its own restrictions on everything including socialising, pub and restaurant opening hours and more.
But what does it mean for Brits who have booked a staycation or a holiday abroad?
In theory, there are no legal restrictions in place yet for travelling between different tiers.
However, the government is urging people to avoid travelling in and out of the ‘high’ and ‘very high’ alert areas unless it’s essential – and some restrictions do apply even if you are sticking to a minibreak within your own ‘tier’.
To give you a helping hand, we take a look at how your holidays abroad and in the UK are affected. We’re looking specifically at travelling for a holiday, not if you have to travel for work or other essential reasons.
Check out our guide below…
The new three-tier system doesn’t explicitly ban travel abroad, no matter what tier you’re in.
However, you’ll still be tied to the Foreign Office advice for a destination as well as the travel corridors which determine if you’ll need to quarantine. (This will be included in the FCDO advice).
If you are in a Tier 3 area, you should avoid all non-essential travel out of your area, so it’s worth getting in touch with your holiday provider and seeing if you can rebook for a later date.
(It’s unlikely you will get a refund if you choose to cancel – but check your booking policy as some firms have made amendments during the pandemic).
Tier 1 (medium)
If you live in a ‘medium risk’ area, there are no restrictions on travelling in and out of your region.
You can stay overnight in other Tier 1 areas, for example at a hotel, provided you are with members of your household or support bubble.
However, the government asks that you avoid overnight stays in higher-risk areas, unless your reason for travel is essential (a holiday won’t fall under this).
If you’re from a higher tier: You should avoid travelling to a Tier 1 area.
Tier 2 (high)
If you’re in a high-risk area, overnight stays in other Tier 2 regions are permitted, but subject to distancing rules.
However, you can only mix with your household or support bubble, including if you’re staying at a hotel.
There are no restrictions on travel, but the government advises that you minimise the number of journeys you make.
If you’re from a lower or higher tier: You should avoid travelling to a Tier 2 area.
Tier 3 (very high)
Those living in Tier 3/very high risk areas are subject to the more stringent rules, and are being asked to avoid travelling outside of their region to anywhere else in the UK – including other Tier 3 destinations.
The government says: “People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
“People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.”
If you’re from a lower tier: You should avoid travelling to a Tier 3 area.
If you have a holiday booked
The first thing you should do is check which tier your chosen destination falls under – you can do this by using the government’s postcode checker.
If your destination is the same ‘tier’ as your local area, then your holiday is unaffected.
The exception here is Tier 3, as the government advises that Brits not travel outside of their own Tier 3 regions, including to other Tier 3 areas.
If the ‘tier’ level differs between your destination and local area, in theory you shouldn’t travel because the government advises against going between the tiers.
Your best bet is to get in touch with your accommodation directly and explain the situation.
It’s likely that they will let you move your booking to a later date.
In terms of a refund, it will depend on the booking policy in place at the time that you booked (you can check this in your booking confirmation documents).
Some providers have been offering more flexibility on bookings made during the Covid-19 pandemic.
You should also check your travel insurance policy in case you’re covered for a cancellation.