When going on holiday means being stuck at home

As more and more countries are being added to the Government’s quarantine list, is it worth taking the risk of being quarantined, and going on holiday anyway?

Simply put, for many people the answer is yes, but is that because they don’t understand the reality?

Holidays are vital to our emotional and physical wellbeing, and for a lot of us Blackpool Illuminations, enthralling though they may be, simply don’t cut it.

When lockdown started to ease, we saw a spike in bookings, all those people who had been scouring the web for their dream holiday destination, started to take a chance on autumn and winter getaways. Taking advantage of the deals from travel providers eager to try to reverse the flood of money being refunded from cancelled trips. All in the hope of a bit of R&R.

However, with a vaccine looking unlikely before 2021, there is a high possibility that even more people travelling overseas will be subject to 14 days quarantine when they set foot back on British soil.

Even those visiting a destination on the list of so called “Travel Corridors” may not be safe as the Government demonstrated by acting quickly when France’s number of cases spiked in August.

Is it worth staying at home to go abroad?

The first thing to understand is that not everyone heading overseas will have to quarantine on their return.

  • As mentioned above, there are those that travel within the Travel Corridors, assuming that their status doesn’t change during the holiday, people who stay in the destination and don’t visit a restricted country during their trip (within 14 days of returning to the UK) will be able to return home with no quarantine.
  • This also applies to people visiting British Overseas Territories or within the common travel area – Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man.
  • There are also exclusions for people who perform certain job functions, or who may be required to travel for work. It is likely that if you are in one of these roles you will know about it, they include Government and Transport Officials, Border Control, Haulers, Aircraft Crew, and a list of other specialist essential workers.

For the rest of us, it is simple, if you find yourself having visited a country that is not on, or is removed from the list of permitted destinations you will have to quarantine for 14 days when you return.

With so many working from home, this may not have a massive impact on our day to day lives. As long as we have help to get groceries when we get home, the positives effects of a holiday may even be enhanced by forced isolation when we get home.

What about those who can’t work from home?

According to ACAS, employees required to quarantine after returning to the UK from holiday are not entitled to SSP. Meaning that even a one week holiday may require an employee to take three weeks annual leave.

Of course, employers can choose to pay SSP or a higher rate, or possibly put an employee on temporary furlough.

Therefore, it is really important that you have a well communicated policy in place, so that employees understand the risks before they travel, as the cost of quarantine may be far higher than looking for an alternative staycation.

Some may have booked their holiday before lockdown, and been looking forward to it for months, some may feel locked into a trip that they are anxious to take. Knowing their options and the implications could help to reduce their anxiety or increase their excitement.

Perhaps the question should be is it worth staying home to take a break.

Over the past five years Travel Accounts has advocated the many benefits of employees making the most of their time off. This is even more true in 2020 than ever before as people have been stuck at home, dealing with huge uncertainty, and managing stresses far beyond those most have experienced in living memory. With little hope of any respite before Spring it looks like it is going to be a long winter.

You and your colleagues still need to take time off, and where possible you need to get away from home, we’ve spent enough time in our homes.

Whilst the Great British weather may be less than reliable, and often less than desirable, there are many fantastic parts of the UK to visit and many amazing experiences and days out, to help you make the most of your time off.

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So, is it time you thought about changing your perspective? Going away doesn’t have to mean getting in line at Border Control, but it does mean getting away and doing something different.

Holidays aren’t dead, they’re just taking different shapes. Your employees still need a break. Get in touch to see how we can help.