Hartlepool family among 6,000 British people in Mexico as Covid red-list restrictions hit
A Hartlepool family has found itself at the centre of a Covid ‘red list’ crackdown which has hit thousands of British people on holiday.
Paul Gough told how he and his relatives were enjoying a dream stay in Cancun when he found out Mexico was on the list of countries facing restrictions from the UK because of the pandemic.
Up to 6,000 Brits face a race to find a way home before the ‘red list’ restriction takes effect on Sunday, otherwise they face quarantine on their return.
Paul and his family had flown to Mexico from Heathrow on a Boeing 737 packed with more than 300 holidaymakers last Saturday, unaware that problems lay ahead, he said.
"There were people on the plane having holidays, weddings. There were families with children and it felt like a normal trip. People were telling stories about how they had been planning this break for two years.”
But Paul found out on Wednesday that those who come home after Sunday would face quarantine in a British hotel, he said.
Thankfully, Paul and his family – including his mum Alison Gough, partner Natalie Jiggins, their three children and another family member Colin Thompson – have a plan to avoid the restrictions.
Paul owns and runs Paul Gough Physio Rooms in Raby Road in Hartlepool as well as branches in Durham, Darlington and Guisborough. But he also now lives in Orlando, Florida where he runs another of his businesses.
He plans to take his family with him to Florida where they can stay until it is safe for them to return to Hartlepool.
But he said others in Cancun were not so lucky and there were thousands of British people in the hotels of the resort which is known for its beaches and nightlife.
"Because there was no signal about Mexico, people have got on a 12-hour transatlantic flight.”
He said: “British people are here on holiday and it is absolutely packed. They are social distancing, hand washing, wearing masks and leaving the hotels at 11pm.”
Some were finding ways to get round the restrictions by flying to countries such as Spain which were not subject to restrictions. They planned to spend the rest of their holidays there before returning to the UK, said Paul.
He added: “We are five days in to a two-week holiday. We are here until next Saturday and then we shall go to Florida.
"But some people are saying they have lost money and they do not know if they will get it back.”
National media reports said yesterday that extra flights were bringing UK holidaymakers back from Mexico before the North American country is added to the red list.
British Airways has added three flights from the capital Mexico City to London to help travellers avoid a mandatory stay in a quarantine hotel when they return.
From the popular tourist destination of Cancun the airline is also operating one additional flight and retimed another.
People arriving in the UK from red tier locations must spend 11 nights at a quarantine hotel.
From August 12 the rate for solo travellers at these hotels will rise from £1,750 to £2,285.