More than 200 travel and hospitality firms back call for quarantine U-turn

Major hotels, travel firms and restaurateurs are calling for air bridges to be created which enable people to travel.

A plane coming in to land
A plane coming in to land

More than 200 travel and hospitality businesses have joined a campaign urging the Government to overturn its planned 14-day quarantine for arrivals into the UK.

The group of major hotels, travel companies and restaurateurs claim the policy is “unworkable” and have endorsed a letter sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel.

They are calling for air bridges to be created which enable people to travel – without being quarantined – between countries where the risk of being infected by coronavirus is deemed to be low.

Current plans would mean all international arrivals – apart from people carrying out a limited number of specified roles – would need to self-isolate for 14 days from June 8.

George Morgan-Grenville, chief executive of tour operator Red Savannah, who is leading the campaign by travel and hospitality firms opposed to the measures, said: “This is not just a group of company bosses complaining, but employees from bottom to top calling for the quarantine plans to be quashed.

The Ritz
The Ritz is among the businesses endorsing the move (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“The extent of their pain is deeply worrying for our economy and our country.”

Seventy-five businesses signed the letter to Ms Patel last week, but it has now been endorsed by more than 200 as concern about the impact of the quarantine grows.

Firms which support the campaign include London hotels the Ritz and the Dorchester, travel firms Kuoni and Inghams, and chef Jason Atherton.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reported that more than 20 Tory MPs are also demanding that the Government changes its quarantine plan.

Transport Select Committee chairman Huw Merriman called for the blanket rule to be “ditched” in favour of other measures such as “air-bridges, compulsory PPE and temperature testing at airports”.

Former Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers also gave her backing for the scheme to be altered, telling BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “I would very much prefer the quarantine rules … be targeted on flights from Covid hotspots.

“I think we really do need to find ways to ease travel between this country and other countries like Italy and Spain and France where not only are there important business connections but people do desperately want to be able to take their summer holiday.”

A Government spokesman said: “These cross-Government public health measures are designed to keep the transmission rate down, stop new cases being brought in from abroad and help prevent a devastating second wave of coronavirus.

“All of our decisions have been based on the latest scientific evidence.

“The list of exemptions has been agreed by all Government departments in consultation with their stakeholders which will ensure critical supplies and services can continue and will be kept under review.”

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