Downing Street Quashes British Dreams Of Greek Summer Holidays With Extended Quarantine

Photo Source: Athens News Agency – Macedonian Press Agency

Expectations at nearly every Greek tourist destination for a resurgence of British tourists in the summer of 2020 were quashed on Wednesday, after news that the government will continue requiring 14-day quarantines for all people arriving back in the UK.

British media reports that as early as today, ministers are expected to announce plans for extending quarantine regulations into the summer for all arriving air and boat passengers.

The Greek travel industry had hoped that the British government would allow so-called “air bridges” to be put into use between the UK and countries perceived to be at low risk of coronavirus infections, including Greece.

On Monday, Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis called upon the British government to enact a mutual no-quarantine policy with Greece.

During a BBC podcast, he stated “We feel that this is a time for us to start lifting restrictions and we urge other countries, the UK included, that as soon as we do that we would welcome reciprocity.” 

Asked yesterday about creating “air bridges” for British tourists, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said “It’s an option under consideration, but not agreed Government policy.”

Additionally, a Whitehall source added “The quarantine rules will be reviewed every three weeks, but I think people would be unwise to book a foreign holiday in the expectation that an ‘air bridge’ will open up in time for the summer holidays.  It’s the sort of idea you might look at as you exit a quarantine system. But we are just getting started,” according to The Daily Mail.

Some in the United Kingdom have questioned why quarantine rules are being extended, just at the time other European countries are easing their own restrictions.

While plans have not yet been finalized for continuing the 14-day quarantine, they are expected to include fines of at least £1,000 for those violating the law.

Meanwhile, Patricia Yates of the group “Visit Britain” said yesterday that the British economy could lose as much as £15 billion from the loss of inbound tourism in 2020, as reported by The Daily Mail.

In other coronavirus-related developments, British media reported on Wednesday that government plans could call for all arrivals at borders to download a new coronavirus tracking app.

Those passing through checkpoints would also be asked to provide details of where they are lodging, allowing police and local authorities to monitor whether individuals are abiding by quarantine regulations.