Can you still go on holiday to Spain – and what happens when you return?
- Credit: PA
With conflicting advice and confusion for holidaymakers, here is a guide to the new changes regarding travel to Spain.
Am I allowed to travel to Spain on holiday?
Spain is no longer on the travel corridor list from the UK and following a spike in coronavirus cases, travellers arriving into England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from Spain now need to self-isolate for 14 days.
People already in Spain can stay for the remainder of their holiday but will have to self-isolate upon return.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is now advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.
What if I am currently on holiday in Spain?
People currently on holiday in Spain are encouraged to follow the local rules, return home as normal and check the FCO’s travel advice pages on gov.uk for further information. They will need to self-isolate for 14 days on return.
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What about the Canary Islands or Balearics like Majorca and Ibiza?
The FCO’s advice against all but essential travel to mainland Spain does not cover the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands because travel advice is based on the risk to the individual traveller and Covid infection rates are lower there than the mainland.
People will still need to self-isolate when returning from anywhere in Spain as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands because self-isolation arrangements are put in place on the basis of risk to the UK as a whole.
What if I have a holiday booked to Spain?
Most tour operators are rebooking or refunding holidays booked for the next few weeks of travel. TUI is offering full refunds to all its Spanish package clients booked to travel up to and including August 9. The firm is also inviting holidaymakers who can accommodate the 14-day quarantine requirement to go ahead with planned trips to the Canary or Balaeric islands. Unusually, Jet2 was still offering package holidays to parts of Spain but if people choose to flout the government’s advice, it can invalidate their travel insurance.
Why has the government suddenly changed the advice regarding Spain?
A government spokesman said the updated advice regarding Spain was based on latest coronavirus data. “Protecting public health is our absolute priority and we have taken this decision to limit any potential spread to the UK. We’ve always been clear that we would act immediately to remove a country where necessary. Both our list of quarantine exemptions and the FCO travel advice are being updated to reflect these latest risk assessments.”
What happens if I am employed and have to self-isolate for 14 days on my return from a holiday?
If you can work from home for 14 days then you should do so. If you cannot work from home, you may need to take extra annual leave to cover the 14 days of self-isolation. In some cases, this might mean your annual leave request is refused.
The employer can consider other options. For example, if the employer and employee agree, you could be put on furlough (‘temporary leave’) for the time you’re self-isolating.
Employees and workers are not entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) if they’re self-isolating after returning to the UK and cannot work from home. But an employer can choose to pay them this – or a higher rate of sick pay – if they want to.
The government is urging employers to be understanding of those returning from Spain who now will need to self-isolate.