Confusion for holidaymakers after government clampdown on Spain travel

PUBLISHED: 12:09 27 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:41 27 July 2020

Spain has been taken off the UK's safe list with some travellers facing quarantine when returning home. Pic: PA

Spain has been taken off the UK's safe list with some travellers facing quarantine when returning home. Pic: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Staff at a Norwich travel agency worked on their day off to cope with the latest crisis to hit the travel industry.

The team at Hays Travel on reopening. Pic: ArchantThe team at Hays Travel on reopening. Pic: Archant

The team at Hay’s, in Brigg Street, went into work on Sunday to phone people with holidays booked to Spain after the government reimposed a quarantine on people arriving to the UK from the country.

The government’s decision – which says holidaymakers returning from the country, as well as the Balearic and Canary Islands, must now quarantine for a fortnight – comes as the travel sector was starting to take off again.

The decision has resulted in confusion for those currently enjoying a break in Spain. Employers are not required to pay statutory sick pay so some workers could face two weeks unpaid leave.

For others who had booked a last minute holiday to the sun in Spain after lockdown, it has meant more disappointment and uncertainty.

Liz Nice, a mother-of-two from Norwich, booked last week to go to Menorca on August 8, but received an email on Sunday from tour operator TUI saying that quarantine was necessary.

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She said: “I got an email from TUI to say they would be in touch about a refund or rebooking elsewhere but I am waiting to hear from them. They are still flying to the Balearics but their email said I don’t have to go and I won’t as the quarantine is impractical so a refund or rebook seem to be the options.

“I’ve found an alternative holiday online but don’t want to book it until I hear from TUI.”

Amanda Smith, manager at Hay’s travel agency, said some of the team of nine went in on Sunday after the government’s announcement.

The branch only reopened on Saturday after the coronavirus lockdown, with a flood in the store, caused by a storm, meaning they could not return to work in the office earlier this month.

She said they spent Sunday phoning around 20 affected customers, and said many people had rebooked for later this year or in 2021.

“People were gutted that this had happened but they did take it in their stride, most have rebooked,” she said. “That’s the life of a travel agent, there are lots of ups and downs but the ups do outweigh the downs as we are also booking people’s honeymoons and dream destinations next year, people are telling us they’ve had a horrible year and want to have something special next year, so the good parts outweigh the bad.”

Hay’s Travel took over more than 214 of 555 former Thomas Cook branches after that firm ceased trading last year.

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