According to proposed legislation released on Tuesday, United Kingdom citizens traveling abroad “without a reasonable excuse” would face a stiff fine of 5,000 pounds ($7,000).
If the legislation passes after a parliamentary vote on Thursday, the rule will be in effect from March 29 until June 30, meaning that those hoping to take trips abroad in June would be hit with a hefty fine.
In late February, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out his “roadmap” for re-opening the country after months of lockdown and strict anti-Covid measures. Johnson announced that all measures in the country would be lifted by June 21, 2021.
Travel restrictions could debilitate countries dependent on UK tourism
The latest proposal, which would restrict foreign travel until the end of June, may prove to be catastrophic for countries that rely economically on summertime tourism from the UK, like Greece and Cyprus.
The proposed legislation comes as an extremely unpleasant surprise to many in the UK and abroad, as the country’s quick vaccination campaign seemed to be an encouraging sign that the UK would lighten up on its existing travel restrictions for the summer.
Officials from many beloved summer holiday destinations, hoping that months of lockdown in the UK would inspire great waves of tourism abroad, have already indicated that they would likely open their borders to vaccinated travelers from the country before the start of the summer season.
Before details of the proposed bill were announced, Greece and Cyprus had already discussed opening up “tourism corridors” with the UK for the summer, which would allow vaccinated travelers from the UK to freely travel in the countries, without having to quarantine.
Additionally, both countries have been strong advocates of “vaccine passports,” or travel documents that contain information regarding travelers’ vaccination status.
All non-essential trips out of UK currently banned
Under current coronavirus restrictions, put in place to stop the spread of the deadly virus in the country, all nonessential travel, both within the UK and abroad, is now banned.
In order to leave the UK, travelers must fill out a detailed form declaring the reason for their trip.
Currently, the fine for not filling out the form is 500 GBP, significantly lower than the proposed 5,000 GBP fine.
Additionally, all those returning to the UK from abroad are subject to rigorous questioning at the border as to the purpose of their journey.