Local holidaymakers facing uncertainty after Spain quarantine decision

Date published: 27 July 2020

Local holidaymakers and the travel industry in general are facing another spell of acute uncertainty following the Government's controversial decision on Saturday to re-impose a 14-day quarantine on people arriving in the UK from Spain.

Spain's removal from the list of exempt countries - barely weeks after UK residents had been given the apparent go-ahead to return to the country again safely - follows "a significant change over the last week in both the level and pace" of coronavirus cases, the government said.

Spain has insisted outbreaks of new Covid-19 cases are isolated and under control, but although UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said he knows it will cause disruption for holidaymakers, the government "can't make apologies".

Chronicle journalist Simon Smedley faces the prospect of losing another holiday with his partner, Tracey.

They lost a trip to Turkey last year when Thomas Cook went bust, a Jet2 trip to Spain at the start of the coronavirus lockdown in the Spring, a planned Air BnB break to the South coast later this month, and now there's uncertainty over whether their 11-night stay in Benidorm with Jet2 from August 19 will now go ahead.

The main issue for many people surrounds their employers' reluctance to offer an extra 14 days' leave in order to quarantine upon return.

Simon said: "We just feel in a state of total confusion at the moment.

"We just don't know what's going to happen with our holiday.

"We've not heard anything official from Jet2, but we can see they are still flying to Spain, which seems a bit crazy really.

"Hopefully we'll find out a bit more over the coming days.

"We don't know whether we're coming or going right at this moment."

Leyton Bracegirdle is currently in Majorca with his partner.

They are just trying to enjoy the rest of the time they have abroad. 

He said they actually feel a lot safer in Spain than they have done in the UK.

"We come back on Sunday morning," Leyton told us.

"We're flying into Manchester and then we have to take public transport to get back home so it doesn't really make any sense.

"Hopefully we're quite lucky. I've been working from home so it shouldn't affect my work at all.

"My partner is discussing it with his boss today, but again hopefully he's been working from home so it shouldn't really be a problem either.  

"That's obviously not the case for a lot of people and some people will be told they'll have to quarrantine and take it out as holiday allowance or take it without pay so we're in a fortunate position. 

"It's gorgeous over here. It's bizarre because it's so quiet.

"It's stunning, but it's much quieter than it would be in a July peak season.

"There's no kids or anything, very few English around too.

"It feels so safe over here. All the cafes, restaurants and bars are being policed very well.

"You have to wear your mask if you're out on the street but you can take it off by the pool.

"The resaurants don't hand you menus, you have to scan a code on your phone.

"Outside all the restuarants and bars there's hand santisier and gel and you have to wash yours hands before you go anywhere.

"Places are shutting at midnight so no one's out on the street drunk not social distancing and to be honest this is why it feels so bizarre that we've got to quarrantine when we get back to the UK because I've seen more respect for social distancing and mask wearing in Majorca than anywhere in the entire time in the UK.

"There's been hardly any deaths in Majorca - if we were in Barcelona it's more so. It's inconsistent."

Holiday giant Tui has cancelled all mainland Spanish holidays until August 9 after the change in rules, but Jet2 and others appear to be carrying on as normal for now.

A statement from Jet2 read this morning: "Following the latest government advice regarding travel to the UK from Spain, we are advising customers to arrive for their flights as normal, as we are continuing to operate our scheduled programme to and from Mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.

"We are still operating flights and holidays to four destinations in Mainland Spain (Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia), which are open and are located away from areas which have been impacted by increased cases of Covid-19.

"In light of the updated advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), we are providing customers travelling to these four destinations with a number of options including continuing with their travel as planned, a refund credit note, a fee free amendment, or a refund.

"We are also continuing to operate flights and holidays to our destinations in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands as scheduled.

"Because the FCO travel advice to these destinations remains unchanged, our usual terms and conditions apply.

"As always, we advise customers to purchase appropriate travel insurance before travelling.

"This is a fast-moving situation, which we are continuing to monitor very closely."

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