More than 52,000 people have signed an industry petition urging Boris Johnson to rethink the imposition of blanket quarantine rules on holidaymakers returning from all of Spain.
The change.org petition was started by Lee Sparrow from Orpington in London in the wake of Spain being removed from the UK’s ‘safe list’ list of countries that do not require travellers to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.
It calls on the prime minister to exclude the Canary Islands and Balearics from the quarantine restrictions.
Former If Only chief executive Andy Freeth urged his Twitter followers to share and sign the petition.
Nearly 40,000 signatures here. Please share and get signed..
— Andy Freeth (@Andy_Freeth) July 26, 2020
Sparrow said: “As I understand it from Spanish news reports, residents from the islands and FCO [Foreign Office], the islands are very safe to travel into as they have next to no cases of Covid-19.
“Holidaymakers returning from the islands have expressed that they felt safer during their stay on the islands than at home in the UK.
“They have also expressed how everybody is adhering to the rules of social distancing and mask wearing.
“Therefore, we ask that the 14-day quarantene restriction be lifted for the Balearic, Canary Islands to support the local economy of the people who have worked hard to get everything in place for the re-opening.
“Many families booked their holidays without accounting for the 14-day quarantine and now will either have to cancel the holiday, which some people have saved up all year for and lose approximately £300 deposit or agree to 14 days unpaid leave from work which for some could be around £700.
“It is unfair to limit holidaymakers from travelling to safe islands when they have worked hard to save and need to relax after an awful and unprecedented 2020.
“Therefore, we ask that you please reconsider the 14-day quarantine from the safe Balearic, Canary islands and continue to let people enjoy their well earned holidays.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Monday morning, Tui’s UK managing director Andrew Flintham reiterated calls for a ‘nuanced’ and regional policy on travel advice and quarantine. He said: “To say we are disappointed [about the Spain decision] is an understatement.”
Flintham added that customers’ responses were “really positive” in that many were keen to rebook and that the “vast majority” still want to go on holiday this summer.
“We would really like a bit of a nuanced policy,” he added, explaining that Tui would like to see “regional” reciprocal agreements so if travel to the Canaries and the Balearics was allowed, it should be backed up with there being no quarantine on arrival in the UK. And on the other hand, he added: “If there is travel advice that says you can’t go, then we believe that the quanarine should be in place”.
He added that “if you cast your mind forward” to when the US reopens to visitors, the policy would also be “really useful”. “If there’s a problem in New York, but Florida is OK, then we don’t really want a quarantine in the whole of thge US,” he said. “We really need to crack this regional quarantine idea.
“It is complicated. I do recognise the complexity for our customers, but if we can have a lined-up, regionalised policy it would be much easier for us to communicate that to our customers.”