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Should you be travelling to amber list countries? Confusing messages from government officials

Many people have jetted off on holidays to countries on the green list for travel following an easing of Covid lockdown rules. However, there is still confusion about the countries on the amber list, with even government officials sending out confusing messages.

Reno Charlton
· 3 min read

This week saw lockdown weary Brits celebrating the easing of restrictions, with thousands heading to airports to jet off to places such as Portugal.

Of course, there are still some restrictions in place, with many countries on the amber or red travel lists. Most people are aware they should not travel to countries on the red list, although it is illegal. However, confusion has arisen over countries that are on the amber list. Not only are travellers confused, but government officials, including the Prime Minister, cannot provide consistent answers as to whether people should be going to them.

Should I stay or should I go?

This is something that many people are asking themselves regarding amber list countries, but they do not appear to be getting much clarification from the government.

George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, has stated that people are allowed to visit countries on the amber list for leisure travel as long as they follow quarantine rules when they return. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has directly contradicted this by saying that people should not be travelling to amber list countries other than for emergencies and urgent business.

Mr Johnson stated, "I think it's very important for people to grasp what an amber list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that. And if people do go to an amber list country, they absolutely have to for some pressing family or urgent business reason, then please bear in mind that you will have to self-isolate, you'll have to take tests and do your passenger locator form and all the rest of it."

The confusion over travelling to amber list countries is further compounded by the fact that travel companies are refusing refunds to those booked to go to these destinations. This is because the government has not made it illegal to travel to these countries for leisure reasons. The mixed messages from ministers are not helping.

Those travelling to amber list countries are required to self-isolate at home on their return to the UK. Anyone travelling to countries on the red list must stay in a managed "quarantine hotel" for ten days at their own expense upon returning.

Many already jetted off to amber list destinations

Not only are the mixed messages from government officials confusing, but they have also come a little too late. Many have already headed to amber list countries like France and Spain, with over 150 flights said to have left the UK on the first day of eased restrictions this week. 

In addition, the EU is set to relax its travel regulations for British travellers who want to head to European destinations for a holiday. Later this week, EU ambassadors will be meeting up to determine whether Brits who have had both Covid vaccine doses should be allowed to visit EU countries without the need for restrictions.

Reno Charlton

Reno Charlton

Reno Charlton has been writing since 2003. She has worked with a diverse client base around the world, across a variety of subjects and industry areas, specialising in lifestyle and health & wellbeing niches. In addition to her online work, Reno is also a published author and has written several children's books and short stories.