As of July 4, “most leisure and tourist attractions will reopen if they can do safely,” Boris Johnson has announced, revealing the biggest return of freedoms to Britain since lockdown.
The two-metre rule has been cut to one, in a major boon for pubs and restaurants, which will also be permitted to reopen from July 4. “All hospitality indoors will be limited to table service with minimal staff to customer contact,” he said.
Hotels, holiday apartments, caravan parks and campsites will be allowed to operate, as long as shared facilities are kept clean, as well as cinemas, arcades and theme parks, but swimming pools and spas “need to remain closed for now.”
The news comes as a huge relief for the UK hospitality industry, and for many campsite and holiday park owners, who feared that strict rules surrounding the use of shared facilities such as toilets and shower blocks would force them to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
UK tour operators still eagerly await the detailed guidance they’ll need to prepare for the resumption of business, which Johnson confirmed will be issued later today.
As for foreign forays, the UK’s controversial 14-day quarantine policy is up for review on June 29, by which time an announcement is expected to be made regarding “air bridges” that would enable European holidays, with frontrunners including Spain, Greece and Portugal. Tui, the UK’s largest tour operator, will offer a small number of trips to Spain and Greece from July 11.
Spain, meanwhile, has been welcoming tourists from other European nations since Sunday, with beaches filling up across the country as summer gets underway – albeit a very strange version of it; new rules on islands including Ibiza and Majorca will involve time limits on sunbathing. And in Turkey, holidaymakers will now be fined £100 for failing to wear a face mask in public.
Join us today as we report all the latest updates.
Costa Rica could restart vital tourism industry as soon as July
Costa Rica has announced a series of 14 health-related protocols to allow for the gradual reopening of its tourism industry, reports Chris Ross. Routinely touted as a regional model for eco-tourism and biodiversity initiatives, the country relies heavily on foreign visitors for hard currency, and around a quarter of all jobs directly or indirectly depend on tourism.
While dates have yet to be announced, an easing of rules on international tourism is expected from as early as July.
Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, María Amalia Revelo Raventós, said: “These protocols are a great step for the country to start getting ready to welcome visitors again.”
Read the story here.
How Greece is coping ahead of its borders reopening
Heidi Fuller-Love is on the ground in Crete to investigate, and locals are nervous.
“In the first weeks of post-lockdown, when I expected wild street parties and joyous celebrations (with proper respect for social distancing, of course), the tavernas and kafeneions stood almost as empty as they had previously,” she writes.
“As we approach phase 7, when borders will open and there will only be random testing at airports, my neighbours are scared once more, and some tell me they think we are better off without tourists, even if that means no income.”
Read her full dispatch here.
UK tourism needs further financial support, says industry body
Joss Croft, the CEO of tourism association UKinbound told The Telegraph:
“Today’s announcement that pubs, restaurants, hotels and attractions can officially open on the July 4 will come as a huge relief to businesses across the tourism and hospitality industry, who have earnt very little revenue since the beginning of March.
“Although these measures are very much to be welcomed, the Government needs to recognise that whilst some businesses will hopefully be able to recoup a small proportion of their losses over the much shorter summer season, many businesses, especially those that rely wholly or mostly on inbound tourism, will have gone through the equivalent of ‘three winters’ and will need further financial support if they are to survive and continue to drive jobs and growth across the UK.”
Two households can holiday together in self-catering properties in England from July 4
A key detail for families and friends who wish to reunite with a summer holiday emerged in Boris Johnson’s speech today. As of July 4, not only will hotels and self-catering properties be allowed to reopen in England, but up to two households can holiday together
English residents can book from today for stays from July 4, and it’s easy to see why self-catering stays may surge in appeal. The idea of rolling hills, secluded lakes and quiet beaches on the doorstep will be a tonic for those who have felt penned in as of late.
Visitors to Turkey must wear face masks on beaches and in parks – or pay £100 fine
Strict rules in holiday hotspots such as Istanbul, Bodrum, Marmaris and Cappadocia require both residents and visitors to wear the protective coverings at all times while out and about.
The edict extends to all public areas, including markets, restaurants, parks and beaches, in 46 of the country’s 81 provinces. Masks are also compulsory on all buses, taxis, ferries, trains and, in some areas, private cars with more than one occupant.
Anyone caught without a mask will be first issued with an official warning; being caught a second time will result in an on-the-spot penalty of 900 Turkish lira (around £105).
The rule does not extend to Turkey’s hotels and resorts, where guests will not be required to wear protective equipment.
Which British businesses will ‘for now’ remain closed?
Swimming pools and water parks
Bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks
Indoor play areas including soft-play
Nail bars and beauty salons
Indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
Exhibition or conference centres
Which UK hospitality businesses can reopen?
From July 4, provided they are Covid-19 compliant:
Restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs
Cinemas and bingo halls
Theatres and concert halls
Museums and galleries
Outdoor playgrounds, gyms, and skating rinks
Funfairs, theme parks and adventure parks and amusement arcades
Indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction
Portugal restores curfew to tackle coronavirus spike in Lisbon
Some lockdown measures, including an 8pm curfew, are being reimposed in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon after a spike in new coronavirus cases.
Despite a relatively low coronavirus toll of 39,392 confirmed cases and 1,534 deaths in Portugal, the authorities are worried that several hundred new cases are being found every day in Greater Lisbon. But the government maintains that the outbreaks are localised and traceable to particular workspaces and crowded neighbourhoods, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.
In these areas, the limit on gatherings will be halved to just 10 people, and commercial spaces with the exception of restaurants will close by 8pm, Mr Costa said. Restaurants will no longer be allowed to serve drinks after the 8pm curfew, and drinking in public spaces outside of licensed esplanades will also be prohibited.
How many countries have opened their borders?
The latest research by UNWTO, announced from Madrid today, shows that 22 per cent of all the destinations it represents worldwide have started to ease restrictions, with Europe leading the way.
However, 65 per cent of all 141 destinations across the planet continue to have their borders completely closed to international tourism, the body reports.
Check our guide to see when other countries are planning to lift restrictions:
WTTC rules for the new normal
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled its third phase of measures designed to encourage the return of safe travels across the globe.
These guidelines will shape the specifics of your next holiday, and are backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Here are some of their key recommendations:
Encourage guests to buy advance tickets online if possible, and consider timed entries and smaller groups
Use of virtual queue systems, contactless touchpoints and payment where possible
Make available hand sanitisers in high-traffic areas such as entry, key walkways, food and beverage locations, merchandise shops and exits
Consider increasing the number of performances and an end-of-show announcement to encourage guests to take their time exiting
Pre-arrival health declaration via email, if required
Encourage use of curb side pick-up and drop off. Consider moving to a fully digital process including payments and limit physical interaction with staff
All cars to be cleaned with a focus on high-frequency touch points such as keys, steering wheels, gear stick, seat belts, door handles, gloveboxes and other surfaces
Minimise physical interaction when providing guests with keys, ideally in a contactless manner by offering self- check-in and check-out, where possible
Enhance sanitation, disinfection and deep cleaning practices as well as increasing their cleaning/disinfection frequency with a focus on high-frequency touch points, including cutlery and utensil sanitisation
Provide guests with physical distancing etiquette, including in elevators if relevant
Read more: The anatomy of a post-lockdown hotel stay
Spain’s secret seaside destinations
Spain, the UK’s number one holiday destination, has reopened to European tourists, and Britons should be given the green light to visit from July 4 without the need to self-isolate on their return home.
Avoiding the summer crowds will be a key concern for some, however. Here are a few suggestions from our Spain experts.
Exclusive: Non-stop UK cruises could be first on British waters after the pandemic
Saga Cruises has just agreed to take late delivery of the cruise line’s second new ship, Spirit of Adventure, in early autumn, after building was delayed in Germany, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Lesley Bellew reports.
Saga Cruises’ pause in operations until September 1 will be reviewed in July as managing director Nigel Blanks “closely monitors the situation” but speaking to The Telegraph, he has good news on cruise sales.“Sales for 2020/21 are very strong and retention of guests from cancelled cruises seems to get stronger and stronger. For July departures just over 70 per cent of guests were retained and for August departures more than 75 per cent.”
He adds: “Sailing from Dover and Southampton will absolutely be an advantage in the new environment and this is definitely reflected in those forward bookings.
“We are also exploring a number of options for when we are able to resume operations which includes looking at cruising around Britain with and without ports of call.”
Read the full story here.
Norfolk’s Pleasure Beach to open on July 11
Great Yarmouth’s Pleasure Beach will open on July 11, subject to government guidelines, with new social distancing measures in place and a new ride to be unveiled.
Tickets will be available for purchase online only and will buy visitors a three-hour slot for £12, of which there will be three per day. In between sessions, the park will close for a deep clean.
Floor markers will be present, and guests will be required to use the hand gel provided at the start of each of the ride. For planning purposes, see our guide to the UK’s best family theme parks.
Eurotunnel bookings surge
It’s the only way to cross the Channel from the UK to France without getting out of your car, and bookings for the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle are currently up 49 per cent on last week’s figures.
Travellers are taking advantage of the new service’s new ‘Standard Refundable Ticket‘, introduced on June 18, which enables bookings to be changed with no fees.
Deborah Merrens, the shuttle’s Chief Commercial Office, said: “For the last couple of weeks we have seen a gradual increase in bookings, and the ongoing relaxation of lockdown rules has meant even more people are looking at their summer holiday options. We are advising anyone who might be considering a holiday in France this summer to book soon to ensure they get the times and dates they want.”
So what can we expect from the journey? The UK Foreign Office is still advising against all but essential travel, but Emma Howard Smith made the trip only last week. You can read her account below:
Vilnius turns main square into manmade beach
The capital of Lithuania has today turned its largest square into an “Open Beach”, with white sand, sun loungers and a giant screen that will broadcast images and sounds from the ocean.
“If people of Vilnius cannot go to the sea, then the sea will come to Vilnius,” said the mayor Remigijus Simasius of the Lukiskes Square project, adding:
“The popular seaside resorts of Southern Europe are not easily accessible at the moment, and our Baltic Sea beaches will be overpacked this summer. That’s why we needed a solution to help people recoup some of that vacation vibe on Vilnius’ very own beach.”
Here’s what it looks like…
Malta to welcome Britons from July 15
British holidaymakers will be allowed to fly to Malta from July 15, as one of Europe’s most popular destinations looks to kickstart its travel industry.
Tourists from the UK will be welcomed back to the Mediterranean island nation after more than three months of self-imposed isolation. Flights will resume from 18 British airports with routes operated by Air Malta, British Airways, easyJet, Jet2 and Ryanair.
The first holidaymakers – including summer visitors from the likes of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Norway and Denmark – will be able to travel in from July 1, with the rest of the planet following a fortnight later.
Chris Leadbeater has the details.
Iconic Parisian hotel to reopen in September
Le Bristol Paris will be re-opening its doors on September 1, with refurbished suites and a brand new garden.
“This den of old-school opulence was the city’s first hotel to be designated a ‘Palace’ (a class above five star),” writes our expert Hannah Meltzer in her review of the hotel. “You’ll see the exception in the fine furnishings of the grand salons, the warm welcome à l’ancienne, the facilities (especially the covered rooftop pool) and Michelin dining options.”
Read more: What next for Paris’ ultra-luxury Palace hotels?
Questions remain, but a week in the Med this summer is finally looking likely
So, as we reported previously, Tui has decided it can wait no longer. It is going to restart some of its summer holidays from July 11, with departures to the Greek islands of Crete, Rhodes, Kos and Corfu; plus the key Spanish destinations of Tenerife, Lanzarote, Majorca and Ibiza.
It also hopes to operate half of the holidays already booked for August. But most of the millions of packages booked during the two months of the summer peak will be cancelled.
Based on the intel we have so far, however, it seems highly likely that Britain will have air bridge arrangements with Spain, Greece, France, Italy and Portugal next month. So, we can start to believe that those who want a summer break on the Continent this year will probably be able to find a way to have one.
So how to plan one amid all the uncertainty? Nick Trend has the full report.
Yesterday’s key stories
Here’s a recap:
Cruise lines scrap all US voyages until autumn
Ski resorts in Europe reopen for summer
Dubai will reopen to tourists on July 7
Disneyland Paris to reopen on July 15
Portugal outbreak threatens air bridge potential
Read yesterday’s blog here.