The government of England plans to allow travelers from the United States and most of the European Union who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the country and bypass the need to quarantine.
The change, which will begin at 4 a.m. on August 2, is hoped to allow people to reunite after months of separation — and also provide a boost for the country’s struggling tourism industry.
Grant Shapps, Britain’s transportation minister, explained that “we’re helping reunite people living in the U.S. and European countries with their family and friends in the UK.”
In an interview that aired on LBC Radio, Prime Minister Boris Johnson added “We want people to be able to come from the U.S. freely in a way that they normally do,” a Reuters article reports.
How The Change Will Work
Starting on August 2, fully vaccinated travelers arriving in England from what the U.K. calls “amber” list countries — which includes the U.S. and most of the EU — must provide proof of inoculation with a vaccine authorized by the U.S. or European agencies, Shapps explained. They also must take a COVID-19 test before departing for England, and then again two days after arrival, he continued.
It must be pointed out that the opening doesn’t apply to travelers from France, which the UK notes still has a high COVID-19 caseload. Instead, those travelers must quarantine upon arrival in England.
Interestingly, the new rule technically applies only for visitors arriving in England — and not Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. However, since there are no travel restrictions between those regions, travelers will be able to arrive in England, and then freely continue on to those countries. Essentially, the changes open all of the UK to vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and much of the EU.
Know Before You Go
Just over 187,000 people are being vaccinated daily in the UK. That means almost 70 percent of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, an article on The Guardian reports. Furthermore, 56.3 percent of the residents have received two doses of the vaccine.
If you do plan to travel to England, it’s important to note that the U.S. State Department has issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning for the UK. That warning is a result of the high number of COVID-19 cases, primarily driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
To stay up-to-date on which countries are changing requirements for visitors, be sure to read all of our Travel News coverage.