Quarantine exemption for overseas bosses reinstated

Foreign bosses will be exempt from quarantine rules if their trip is likely to have a “significant economic benefit” to the UK, the government has said.

Executives can temporarily leave quarantine while undertaking activities that qualify for the exemption but must self-isolate at all other times.

The government said they won’t qualify if their activities can be done remotely, by phone or email.

The policy was in force for a period in 2020 but suspended when lockdown was reintroduced in January.

The government website said: “You are considered to be bringing ‘significant economic benefit’ if the work you are doing has a greater than 50% chance of creating or preserving at least 500 UK-based jobs.

“This exemption is designed to enable activity that creates and preserves UK jobs and investment, while taking steps to ensure public health risks are minimised.”

The exemption will be for arrivals from amber list countries, and only given in exceptional circumstances.

Abby Penston, chuef executive of Focus Travel Partnership, said: “SMEs make up 80% of jobs in the UK and over 99% of all private sector businesses, so with this new allowance the government is ignoring the fundamental value smaller and medium sized businesses bring to the economy.

“We call on the government to clarify and widen the parameters to allow the economy to open up further in a safe and responsible way.”

The move was criticised by Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, who said on Twitter: “It is the lowest paid working people who have got our country through this crisis, risking their lives on the frontline. This is an offensive slap in the face for them and shows this government’s true colours.

“Yet again it is one rule for those at the top and another for everyone else.

“This makes a total mockery of the sacrifices of the British people during this pandemic and this double standard is an insult to frontline workers that the British people will rightly be disgusted by.”

And Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham commented: “Wrong move at the wrong time. It can’t be one rule for the rich and another for the rest.”

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw tweeted: ” First, Uefa big wigs, now wealthy business people let off quarantine by Johnson while ordinary families separated from loved ones and ordinary football fans can’t travel because of his discredited travel rules. One rule for them, another for the rest of us.”

It comes after travel industry bosses slated the government for allowing Uefa officials and VIPs to avoid quarantine rules when visiting London for Euro 2020 matches.

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