The government has said it removed travel agents from the list of non-essential shops forced to close due to lockdown because they are able to operate remotely.

Travel Weekly reported this week that Abta was seeking urgent clarification from the government on the matter, as it feared agencies’ removal might mean some businesses miss out on grants worth up to £3,000.

The list was issued when the full guidance of the second lockdown in England was announced. Abta raised the removal of travel agents, which had been mentioned explicitly in the original list, with government on Monday.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We believe the current measures strike the right balance to help contain the virus while also allowing some parts of the retail sector to stay open.

“As was the case in March, we have not closed travel agents by law as these businesses can continue to operate remotely and it may be necessary for people to continue to go to their office where they cannot work from home.”

Local authorities will receive funding of £20 per head to support businesses affected by the November measures, but which are not legally closed, the spokesperson added.

Abta is lobbying the government to ensure travel agencies are entitled to support, which can be as much as £3,000 per premises, through the Local Restriction Support Grant programme.

It said that they may still be eligible for a discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant if they are unable to access the Local Restriction Support Grant.