HOLIDAYMAKERS planning a trip to France will have to quarantine for two weeks on their return to the UK.

The Government took France off the travel corridor list after a surge of fresh cases in the country. Here is what you can and can't do under the new rules.

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What has happened in France?

From 4am on August 15, people travelling from France to the UK will have to self-quarantine for two weeks when they return home.

The UK government made the announcement on August 13 after a rise in new infections in France.

The number of new Covid-19 cases hit 2,846 on August 14 – a record number outside of lockdown.

Hundreds of thousands of Brits on holiday in France were forced to rush home to the UK or risked their kids missing their first day of school in five months.

But flights, Channel crossing and Eurostar spots filled up fast, with prices jumping to four times the normal cost.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex warned this week that the country had been going "the wrong way" for two weeks.

He said: "The epidemiological situation, which we are following very closely, is deteriorating: 2,000 new cases per day compared to 1,000 three weeks ago.

"About 25 new clusters are identified every day compared to five three weeks ago."

The spread of the virus is mainly among young people and in cities such as Paris and Marseille.

Before, the UK had allowed Brits to travel to the holiday hotspot without needing to self-quarantine on return.

After a spike in coronavirus cases in France, holidaymakers in the country will now be forced to quarantine for two weeks upon returning home to the UK.

Can I still travel to France?

Yes, but for essential travel only.

Flights are still departing from the UK to France, but the Government advises against "all but essential travel".

If you decide to book a holiday you will be travelling against official guidance.

This means you are unlikely to be covered under travel insurance.  

I am already in France – do I need to rush back to the UK?

Many travellers rushed back to the UK before the new quarantine rules came into force.

But the FCO is not advising those already travelling in France to immediately return to the UK.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "If you are already there, you can continue and enjoy your holiday."

But if families stay on holidays in France for too long there is a risk kids will miss the first few days of school after spending five months out of the classroom because of lockdown.

And many unable to work from home will lose out on two weeks of wages.

How do I get home?

You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have questions about your return journey.

If you are planning on continuing your holiday, you should stick with your current travel plans.

What are the quarantine rules?

Since June 8, guidelines have required anyone entering the UK from a non-corridor country to quarantine for 14 days.

Those rules continue to apply for the time being – both to Brits returning to the country and tourists arriving from abroad.

Anyone entering the country must provide contact details and then self-isolate for 14 days, or face a fine of up to £1,000.

Police are conducting checks to ensure people are quarantining and not leaving their place of residence for the two-week period.

Magistrates also have the powers to prosecute or to issue unlimited fines for persistent breaches of the new self-isolation rule, or for refusal to pay a fine that has already been issued.

The quarantine is being run and enforced by Border Force, cops, and Public Health England officials.

Brits living in the UK can quarantine at their own home, but they are not allowed to leave the house for a fortnight.

Anyone without accommodation should be be provide with somewhere to stay by the Government.

Which workers are exempt from quarantine?

Most quarantine exemptions cover either transport professionals or key workers travelling from abroad to the UK on very specific business.

Individuals that are exempt from quarantine will still have to fill out the standard tracking form and must have official clearance that they can produce at the border.

There are no exemptions for people coming back from holiday, no matter what your profession.

Among those that are exempt are:

  • Essential UK and foreign diplomats that are on a mission, including intelligence staff
  • Defence personnel, forces and contractors who are confirmed as exempt through the Ministry of Defence
  • Border security and maintenance staff
  • People who live in the UK but work in another country and travel between the UK and country of work at least once a week, and vice versa
  • People licensed to transport passengers by coach and bus internationally
  • International freight and goods drivers, including post and medicine.
  • Eurotunnel and Eurostar staff, pilots and air crew
  • Industry and infrastructure specialists that are coming in for work purposes
  • International prison escorts
  • People essential to clinical trials and studies

If you are unsure if you qualify, you can find the full details on the Government website.

Do other countries have quarantine rules?

Most countries have some form of screening practice depending on where you are flying from.

You will have to comply with coronavirus requirements in the country you travel to.

This may include self-isolating or providing your details to local authorities.

There are around 70 countries that are deemed safe by the UK and have a travel corridor scheme that means you won't have to quarantine at either end.

You can get precise Foreign Office information on the country you're heading by heading to its website.

The FCO recommends that you make sure you have appropriate travel insurance in case you have unexpected costs.

The Netherlands and Malta have also been added to the UK's quarantine list – but Gibraltar was reprieved.

What has the response been?

There was mass confusion over the sudden move among tourists, with holidaymakers running for the airports to avoid the quarantine deadline.

It is thought more than 160,000 British tourists will have been affected by the restrictions, with many already on holiday or having one booked.

Thousands started cancelling holidays after Spain was kicked off of the safe country list for fear of getting caught up in another sudden quarantine move.

Do I need to self-quarantine when in France?

No. The most updated advice doesn’t require Brits travelling to France to self-quarantine upon arrival.

But there are fears France could respond by introducing reciprocal quarantine rules for Brits.

Currently, any travellers entering France who have symptoms of Covid-19 will have to quarantine for 14 days either at home or in a location organised by the French authorities.

But anyone planning on going to France should monitor the rules closely and check FCO advice.

Do I need to self-quarantine when I come back to the UK?

Yes. But before you return to the UK you will need to provide details of your journey and contact details BEFORE you travel.

You must complete this online form – which you cannot submit until 48 hours before you’re due to arrive back in the UK.

If you refuse to provide contact details you could face a fine up to £100.

Details on what you can or cannot do while self-isolating can be found here.

Once you complete the form you will then be required to show it at the UK border – either a printed version or showing it on your phone is fine.

Can I cancel my holiday and will I get a refund?

It is likely tour operators will cancel package holidays.

You will be entitled to choose between re-booking or a cash refund.

You need to wait for the operators to cancel to claim refund – DO NOT cancel the holiday yourself.

If you have booked flights and accommodation separately it is unlikely you will get a refund.

You may be able to re-book but that will depend on the terms and conditions of the hotel and airline.

What will happen to my flight?

If your flight isn’t cancelled you may not be able to claim a refund.

British Airways, Easyjet and Jet2 are continuing to fly to France, despite the FCO warning.

But EasyJet has cancelled all package holidays to France until the end of August, meaning you can get a full cash refund.

And the airline is allowing customers who no longer wish to travel to change their flight without a fee.

British Airways is still operating a limited number of flights to France, meaning you can't get a cash refund unless the flight is cancelled.

If you no longer want to travel, it is offering vouchers which you can use on a future booking up until April 30, 2022.

And if you've booked a package holiday with BA that is set to depart in the next three weeks and no longer want to travel, you can also get a voucher or refund.

Jet2 suspended all flights to France in March due to coronavirus but has since started flying to Bergerac and La Rochelle.

Customers who no longer wish to travel to these destinations can re-book with no admin fee, but can't get a refund unless the flight is cancelled.

Ryanair flights can be moved but you may be charged a fee.

What will happen to my hotel booking?

Hotels in France are still open, meaning it is unlikely you will get a refund.

If the Government orders your hotel to shut as part of an enforced lockdown, you can then claim for a refund on any unused nights.

If you want to cancel you need to check the T&Cs of the hotel.

Some booking websites like Booking.com and Airbnb do offer last minute cancellations.

Am I covered under travel insurance?

If you booked your holiday to France when the Government said you could travel there and you are currently in France then you are covered under travel insurance.

That is because you booked while still adhering to FCO advice.

If you book your holiday to France NOW after FCO has advised against “all but essential travel” then you will not be covered.

Travel insurance will automatically by invalid if you're going to a country where the Foreign Office is advising against.

If you booked your holiday before FCO changed its travel advice, but you have yet to travel, then tour operators should be offering re-booking or refund options for trips that cannot go ahead.

You should check your travel insurance policy to see if you are covered in the event of cancellations.

Again, you should wait for the airlines or accommodation to cancel in order to be eligible for any re-booking or refunds – DO NOT cancel it yourself.

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