HOLIDAYS may be off for the rest of the YEAR, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has warned.
He warned that until the entire country is vaccinated, restrictions may remain in place.
Speaking on Sky, he explained: “I’m afraid I can’t give you a definitive, will there or will there not be the opportunity to take holidays this next year either at home or abroad.”
When asked if restrictions will stay in place until everyone has had a vaccine, he said: “Yes.”
He said on the Today programme: “People shouldn’t be booking holidays right now, not domestically not internationally.”
He also said that the vaccination programme abroad could impact holidays restarting: “We don’t know where we will be on the decline of cases, deaths and the vaccine.
“And not just the vaccination programme here but internationally as people will be going outside of the borders.”
This could mean a ban on travel until at least after the summer, with plans for the entire country to be vaccinated by the end of August.
New restrictions announced yesterday by Health Secretary Matt Hancock have also put a pause on holidays.
The latest travel measures include an additional two Covid tests required during quarantine – costing £210 per person – and a mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from high risk countries – costing £1,750 per person.
Anyone who leaves the quarantine faces a whopping £10,000 fine and people who lie about where they have been on holiday to try and avoid the quarantine could even face a 10-year jail sentence too.
Jonathan Van Tam suggested that the more elaborate people’s holiday plans were, the more likely they were to get cancelled.
Speaking at Downing Street earlier this week, he said: “The more elaborate your plans are for summer holidays, in terms of crossing borders, in terms of house mixing, given where we are now, I think you just have to say, you’re stepping into making guesses about the unknown.
He added: “We just don’t have the data, it’s just too early.”
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Masks and social distancing could also be in place all year too.
Speaking of the nation’s jab progress, Professor Neil Ferguson told Sky News last night: “It’s not going to allow us to go back to normal – certainly not until the autumn.”
He added: “There will be new things we can’t predict precisely, like the waning of immunity, like new variants coming up, which means there will be some residual need to maintain some social distancing, mask wearing, probably for much of this year.”
Despite the warning, UK holidays are booming with booking demand soaring.
Some families are even being put on waiting lists for holidays to Cornwall due to demand.