Travel quarantine relaxation for executives ‘will boost economy’

Sophia Sleigh
·2-min read
<p>Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that the restrictions would  be relaxed from tomorrow</p> (Getty images)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that the restrictions would be relaxed from tomorrow

(Getty images)

Travel industry leaders today said the Government was starting to “wake up” to the importance of aviation after the easing of quarantine rules for “high-value” business travellers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that the restrictions would be relaxed from tomorrow for senior executives, performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists and elite sports people arriving in England.

It means they will no longer have to abide by the 14-day coronavirus isolation rule which has hampered the travel industry throughout the pandemic.

A spokesman for Heathrow said: “These changes show the Government is beginning to wake up and understand the pivotal role aviation will need to play in driving the recovery of the UK economy.

"Establishing a pre-departure testing regime is the best way to ensure we can continue to protect public health, while removing the economically-costly quarantine regime for everyone entering the UK.”

Richard Burge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “We welcome that the Government finally seems to recognise the importance of business travel to economic recovery.”

Adam Tyndall, from London First, added: “Many business leaders see air travel as key to their future prospects, so it is positive that government has listened and taken account of business trips.

“It is important though that we move to a full testing regime as soon as possible, which would open up international travel for all and give confidence to passengers.”

Business Secretary Alok Sharma clarified the term “high value” on BBC Breakfast after his colleague Mr Shapps was accused of prioritising the wealthy.

Mr Sharma said it referred to senior executives who “absolutely need” to be in the UK for business that would create or protect 50-plus jobs or bring in major investment.

Currently anyone entering the UK from high-risk countries is required to self-isolate, with the threat of a £10,000 fine.

Exemptions are already in place for some groups such as hauliers, diplomats and airline crew.

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