How far you can travel from Hartlepool in lockdown as rules ease from Monday, March 29

Lockdown restrictions are due to ease further in England – but you would be forgiven for being unsure of exactly what it means for travel.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 2:02 pm
Church Square in Hartlepool
Church Square in Hartlepool

From Monday, March 29, larger groups of up to six people, from any number of households, or a group of any size from up to two households, are allowed to gather in parks and gardens in England according to Government guidelines.

This ends the “stay at home” order, but people are being encouraged to “stay local” where possible.

And although this will be a welcome change for many, it is unclear how far exactly you will be permitted to travel.

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The Government guidance states: “The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place.

"People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.

"Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The Government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.”

So travelling outside your local is not encouraged, but you wouldn’t be penalised.

What else is allowed from March 29?

:: Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts are also set to reopen, with organised adult and children’s sport – including grassroots football – able to return.

:: Childcare and supervised activities outdoors for all children will also be allowed.

:: Groups of up to six people, from any number of households, or a group of any size from up to two households, are allowed to gather in parks and gardens in England

But while this may allow for picnics, it will be a while longer before you can enjoy a drink in a beer garden. Shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens can reopen from April 12 at the earliest.

When can I go on holiday in England?

The earliest date people in England will be able to enjoy an overnight stay away from home is April 12, when domestic holidays are set to resume if the roadmap goes ahead as planned

However, this is for self-contained accommodation only, including campsites and caravan parks.

Self-contained accommodation is classed as any place that does not require shared facilities, like bathrooms, entries and exits, or catering and sleeping areas.

People looking forward to hotel and B&B stays will need to wait until May 17 - the earliest date that these types of holiday accommodation will be able to reopen.

There will also be a limit on how many people can stay together.

Two households will be permitted to go on a hotel holiday together, with no limit on people.

If people are from more than two households, the “rule of six” will need to be followed.

And if people from any of the other four nations wish to travel and stay in England, when this will be possible is reliant on the traveller’s origin country’s restrictions.

It should be noted that England’s roadmap dates are provisional, and depend on the state of the pandemic at the time.

What about travel to Scotland?

Mainland Scotland’s “stay at home” rule is set to be lifted on April 2.

For at least three weeks after that, the guidance for people in the country will be to “stay local”.

The next important date for travel is not until April 26.

From then, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon aims to lift travel restrictions on the mainland “entirely”.

That means domestic tourism will resume as residents in Scotland will be able to start travelling freely around the mainland.

All tourist accommodation will reopen from this date, including hotels and B&Bs, dependent on the continued decrease in Covid cases and the progress of the vaccinations programme at the time.

Other restrictions will also still apply in tourist accommodation, such as those surrounding hospitality.

Travel to the Scottish islands will be different and restrictions may continue for longer.

Ms Sturgeon has said she is hopeful that travel between Scotland and the other UK nations will also be possible from April 26 “or very shortly afterwards”.

A firm decision on this is set to be taken by the government in April.

When can I go on holiday abroad?

People in England will not be able to go on holiday abroad until May 17 at the earliest, according to the Prime Minister’s roadmap.

But scientists have warned that holidays overseas in summer are very unlikely due to the risk of travellers importing new variants of the virus into the UK.

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Government's Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, which feeds into Sage, has said the UK faces a “real risk” if people travel abroad in summer.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on 20 March: "I think that international travel this summer is, for the average holidaymaker, sadly I think, extremely unlikely.

"I think we are running a real risk if we do start to have lots of people going overseas in July, for instance, and August because of the potential for bringing more of these new variants back into the country.

"What is really dangerous is if we jeopardise our vaccination campaign by having these variants, where the vaccines don't work as effectively, spreading more rapidly."

And Transport Secretary Grant Shapps previously said it was “too early to tell” when international holidays would be given the go-ahead.

A government taskforce will report to the prime minister on 12 April, laying out when and how foreign travel might resume.

Currently, holidays abroad from the UK are not permitted and returning travellers have to quarantine, either at home or in hotels.