For those planning a holiday in the coming months it has been tough to keep up with local lockdown measures with different guidelines across the country.
And with the Prime Minister implementing a new “three tier” system for tackling growing coronavirus rates across England this week, holidaymakers could find their staycation subject to a host of new rules.
Under the new system, different areas of England will be split up into medium, high and very high alert level. These three tiers will all determine how severe lockdown measures are in each region and affect impending trips and UK breaks.
Here is everything you need to know about how UK travel rules are affected by the new Covid measures.
Can I go on holiday if I live in a Tier 2 region?
The tier two lockdown is defined as a “high” alert level and mainly prevents members of different households or support bubble from mixing indoors – including pubs and restaurants.
Meanwhile, the rule of six will apply in outdoor spaces, including private gardens.
Travel in and out of the area is still technically allowed – although people are advised to limit their journeys.
The government guidelines says: “People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.
“If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.”
Can I go on holiday if I live a Tier 3 region?
People living in regions under tier three lockdown or “very high” alert face the most stringent controls, including the closure of its pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centres and a ban on households mixing.
Travel in an out of these areas should only be limited to essential journeys. This includes going to work where you can’t work from home, going to school or university, accessing youth services, for caring responsibilities or if you are in transit.
Going on holiday is unlikely to be considered a reasonable excuse.
According to official guidance, residents in a “very high alert” area should also avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK and vice versa.
Can I travel from a higher tier to a lower tier and vice versa?
The specific details of the regulations for each tier are yet to confirmed and finalised on Wednesday.
While there are no legal restrictions on travel between different tiers set in place yet, the Government is urging people to avoid travelling in and out of the “high” and “very high” alert alert areas, unless it is necessary.
What about those living in Tier 1 ?
Most of England is being placed in the tier one (medium) category – the region with the lowest rates of infection – where people will be expected to continue observing the national rules that are already in place.
This includes the rule of six as well as the 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants at 10pm.
There are no specific travel restrictions set in place if you want to travel to another region under “medium alert”, but people are being advised to avoid travelling to tier two and tier three regions – unless their journey is essential.
Are the rules different in Wales?
The Welsh Government is currently considering introducing the three-tier system but it is yet to make a decision.
Some parts of Wales are currently under local restrictions. Travel in an out of these areas should only be limited to essential journeys.
This includes going to work where you can’t work from home, or using public services that are not available locally. Going on holiday is not considered a reasonable excuse.
People living in an area of Wales with no local restrictions are free to travel anywhere with no local restrictions.
Face coverings are mandatory in indoor public spaces, and you should not gather indoors in groups of more than six, or with anyone from outside your household.
According to the local government’s website: “Tourism is hugely important to Wales and there are no legal restrictions on people travelling to parts of Wales which are not under these local restrictions.
“We are not telling people they shouldn’t come to these parts of Wales but we are asking people to think very carefully about making journeys. People should obviously not travel if they are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus and it is really important to check for latest information about the area they are planning to travel to.”
Welsh ministers have also asked for travel from tier three areas in England to be restricted, to prevent people visiting parts of Wales where lockdown are not in force.
What about Scotland?
A tiered coronavirus alert system is set to be introduced across Scotland and will aim to match those being used by other UK nations as closely as possible, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said her proposal would be put before Holyrood after the October recess and could come into effect when stricter measures in Scotland are due to be eased on 25 October.
On Friday, new restrictions came into force under which pubs and restaurants in Scotland’s central belt were ordered to close, while elsewhere alcohol can only be served in outdoor areas.
There are currently no rules against travelling to Scotland from England – or vice versa. However, Visit Scotland requests that living in a part of England with tighter restrictions, only travel to Scotland if it is essential.
If you go to Scotland, you will not be able to visit anyone’s home, and you will have to follow its rules around social gatherings, meaning you can meet people from one other household.
While visitors from other parts of the UK are allowed to travel to Scotland, government guidance states that you should not travel to areas where local restrictions are in place – unless the journey is essential.
When is the new system going to be implemented?
MPs will debate and vote on the measures on Tuesday and the new tiered system will come into effect on Wednesday.
Measures are to be kept under review, with a four-week sunset clause for areas facing the toughest restrictions.
The Government has not yet announced the details of the system, including which parts of the country would fall under which tier.
It is expected that people living within a tier three area will be urged not to leave it, unless it is absolutely necessary. Similarly, those living outside these regions will be asked not to travel there unless it is an essential journey.