Fully vaccinated Americans residing in the United States (U.S.) and residents of countries in the European Union (E.U.) can now spend the last month of summer on holiday in the United Kingdom (U.K.). There is much to enjoy there, with many you can visit for free. You can also find reasonable accommodations, including affordable student accommodations.
The most iconic places to go to are Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Tower of London. You must, of course, ride around in the red double-decker London buses and perhaps take home a miniature souvenir. You can immerse yourself in the Harry Potter world and actual sets used in the Harry Potter movies by visiting the Warner Brothers Studio. Pose with celebrities, including the Queen, at Madame Tussauds wax museum.
Schengen Visa Info News reports that starting August 2, people traveling from the E.U. and the U.S. will be allowed entry without the need for self-quarantine if they have proof of complete vaccination. They must undergo Covid-19 testing two days after their arrival, but they need not have one on the eighth day.
Previously, the U.K. only allowed entry for people who have been vaccinated under its National Health Service (NHS) program. If they were vaccinated under other country programs, they had to undergo complicated requirements involving tests and quarantine. The vaccines approved in the U.K. are Oxford AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer BioNTech, and Janssen, although the latter will only be coming later in the year.
A Risk-Based Country Coding System
For other nationals apart from those from the E.U. and the United States, the U.K. has a classification system, coding countries as green, amber, and red. The latter is considered countries with the highest risk of Covid-19 infection. Travelers must check the government’s online list because countries move from one classification to another based on constant monitoring by the UK authorities on their Covid-19 situations. For instance, apart from the green list, there is a green watchlist with countries under close observation for reclassification to the amber list.
According to CNN, as of July 19, travelers from countries on the red list who are not UK residents are not allowed entry. Returning UK residents from red list countries must pay for a 10-day quarantine at an authorized quarantine hotel. Booking is on an online portal before the return trip and costs £1,750 for every adult. Those caught evading this hotel quarantine will face fines up to £10,000.
U.K. residents fully vaccinated under the NHS program and returning from countries in the amber list need not quarantine nor take a Covid-19 test on the eighth day from arrival. Others must do a Covid-19 test before return, undergo a 10-day quarantine, and have more tests on the second and eighth day from arrival. They can be released earlier if they test negative, though.
The exception is France, with returning travelers required to undergo the 10-day quarantine and Covid-19 testing on the second and eighth day from arrival.
All fully vaccinated travelers coming from countries on the green list must take a Covid-19 test one or two days before their trip and another one or two days from their arrival. There is no need to undergo quarantine, though.
No More Restrictions and Constraints
As of July 19, according to iNews, the government has stated that workers need not work from home, although the decision is left to employers and employees. Charitable organizations are calling on officials to ensure that employers do not pressure employees who are medically vulnerable to return to work in offices.
People in England no longer need to wear masks indoors and in public transportation, although they can still do so voluntarily. Specific stores and transportation services can also require mask-wearing among their customers.
Physical distancing is no longer required, except in airports and for people who test positive for Covid-19 and are self-isolating. Care homes will no longer limit the number of visitors for their residents, although they will continue to use personal protective equipment (PPE) and do enhanced cleaning.
There are no limits to the number of people gathering indoors or outdoors. Hence, businesses, including nightclubs and sports stadiums, can open at full capacity. Large festivals are now allowed, as well as weddings and funerals. Venues need not scan their guests’ QR codes upon entry. Table service and seating restrictions in restaurants are lifted. Fully vaccinated visitors from the U.S. and the E.U. can now fully enjoy everything that England has to offer for a wonderful end-of-summer holiday.