What do the travel advice updates for France and The Netherlands mean?
As you may well have seen, especially if you have a trip planned to France or The Netherlands soon, the government just updated their travel advice effective from 4am on Saturday 15th August.
Below we'll try to help you understand what's changed and what it means. And also, what it means for other holidays that could be affected by more changes in the future.
What was announced?
- All of France (including Corsica) and The Netherlands were removed from the UK Government's Travel Corridor list. This means, if you return from France, you will need to self isolate for 14 days in the UK.
- All of France (including Corsica) and The Netherlands has also been removed from the FCO's safe to travel list. This means if you travel there, you won't be covered on your travel insurance for anything. See the latest here.
Updated on Friday 14th August.
What do I do if I'm already in France or The Netherlands?
The Foreign Office (FCO) isn't advising people to return to the UK immediately. So you can wait until your trip is due to end as normal. Your travel insurance won't stop covering you because you're already there.
It's worth understanding the local coronavirus restrictions and safety measures, like wearing a mask in public, and following these rules.
What do I do if I have an upcoming trip to France or The Netherlands?
Your airline or package holiday/tour operator may cancel your trip. If this happens, under EU law, you're entitled to a full refund by your airline or tour operator. Don't cancel your holiday without speaking with them first.
If your trip doesn't get cancelled, and you do still travel, please remember that you wouldn't be insured to anywhere the FCO is advising against travel to.
We would recommend you speak with your airline, hotels, etc. and ask if you can move your holiday, get a refund or credit note.
What does this mean for holidays in other countries?
It's not good news unfortunately. It sets an unpredictable precedent by the UK Government that travel destinations may be removed at little or no notice from the travel corridor list and/or removed from the FCO's safe list.
Pluto's travel insurance, like most other insurers, no longer covers travel disruption caused by coronavirus, like this situation with France and The Netherlands. So unfortunately, your travel insurance won't be able to help if this trip was booked after the 11th March 2020.
Our best travel advice for future trips is:
- Always book flexible tickets, accommodation and activities. Ensuring you can cancel these at short notice or change dates at little or no cost.
- Don't travel somewhere or plan to travel somewhere that the FCO is advising against travel to. Your travel insurance won't cover you for anything, whether it's related to coronavirus or not if you do still go.
- Keep an eye on the news and/or the FCO's website for the latest updates on your destination.
- Always get travel insurance, even though it won't cover you for disruption like this. It can still cover loads of other things that might affect your trip and importantly any medical costs when you're abroad, including coronavirus treatment.
- Don't cancel your holiday if you're worried that the advice might change without speaking to your travel company first as you may forgo your refund or ability to make a date change.
What are travel corridors and what does the FCO's travel advice mean?
We wrote a separate post on this, please see here for more information.
What does self-isolation mean?
In short, you are expected to go straight home when you arrive back in the UK and stay there for 14 days. You're not allowed to go outside to see anyone, you cannot have visitors and you cannot go outside to shop, walk a dog or exercise. You are expected to ask neighbours, family or friends to help with anything essential and get food deliveries whenever possible.
You can leave your home for an emergency or if there is no way for you get food or necessities brought to your home.
If you don’t self-isolate in England, you could be fined £1,000, which could increase to £3,200 if you don’t provide an accurate or up-to-date contact information.
See the governments full summary of this here.