Are COVID 19 Travel Restrictions a thing of the past?
It seems impossible to imagine that in the not too distant past, we were unable to travel outside of the UK at all for leisure purposes because of the Coronavirus pandemic, and, that when travel did start to open up, there were numerous, sometimes onerous, requirements for travellers in terms of testing and proving vaccination status.
The travel industry was particularly badly hit by the pandemic, and it is good news for the industry that most restrictions for travel outside of the UK have now been lifted.
Spain was one of the last European countries to lift its remaining COVID restrictions. From 21 October 2022, both EU and non-EU citizens no longer have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
However, holidaymakers still need to be careful when travelling out of the UK because COVID travel restrictions continue to apply to travel to a number of countries.
For example, when travelling to the USA from the UK it is no longer a requirement for travellers to show proof of a negative test to enter the USA, however, all foreign national visitors aged 18 or over to the US must be fully vaccinated, (unless exempt), and present proof of full vaccination. Passengers entering the USA must also complete a Passenger Disclosure and Attestation and contact tracing form within 72 hours before travel.
Conversely, in Canada, USA's neighbour, travellers entering from the UK do not need to test or to provide proof of vaccination status.
There are a number of other countries where restrictions still apply. When travelling to India from the UK for example, travellers must present proof of full vaccination, testing is still required for all non-vaccinated travellers aged 5 and above and will need to complete a PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their departure from the UK and carry evidence of their negative result.
And what about restrictions when you reach your holiday destination?
While COVID restrictions have been lifted almost entirely in most countries, some restrictions remain. In particular, rules regarding the wearing of facemasks are still present in many countries.
In Spain for example, where masks are no longer mandatory in the vast majority of settings, facemasks are required to be worn on public transport (which will include a transfer to your hotel) and in medical settings. Other European countries have adopted similar rules.
Rules can also differ within a country: In Canada there is no longer a requirement to wear facemasks in most settings, but provincial and local governments may require persons to wear a facemasks in certain indoor settings such as hospitals or on public transport. Proof of vaccination may also be required to visit high risk settings such as care homes.
When traveling by air, many airlines no longer require passengers to wear facemasks on their flights, although some airlines still require them to be worn on certain routes.
It is also the case that rules can change quickly so it is sensible to be prepared, and at the very least know how to locate your "Covid pass".
So where does this leave us?
While holidaymakers from the UK can now look forward to foreign travel with virtually no COVID restrictions, some countries still have testing and vaccination requirements, and there may be restrictions on arrival at your holiday destination.
It is advisable to check before you depart what the requirements are when travelling to your destination, and what restrictions are in place in that country. Your airline or holiday company should be able to advise you about this, and you can read the latest UK government travel advice.