What we know as of 01/12/20
We have put together a number of facts, which can be easily verified. We have tried to avoid speculation and any poor press reporting. If you're looking to book, find out more about the flexibility pledge we've put together for your peace of mind so that you can book your 2020/21 ski holiday now with confidence.
Travelling to France
The current 14-day UK quarantine will be replaced by what the government call 'Test & Release' from 15/12/20. You can find an explanation here but in a nutshell it means that the 14-day self-isolation period is reduced by more than half on receipt of a negative COVID-19 test from a private provider after five days of isolation. Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said, "Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely.". Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said, "Ensuring that safe travel is possible has been a priority for the Global Travel Taskforce. This test on day five of the 14-day self-isolation period will identify positive coronavirus cases and allow those who test negative to return to work and see their loved ones while abiding by domestic coronavirus restrictions.
This means that international travel to 'non-corridor' countries can resume from 15/12/20 within these constraints.
Speculatively, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, also revealed that he wanted to scrap quarantine entirely by replacing it with daily coronavirus test. He told the Telegraph that he wanted to move to a rapid-testing regime in the new year, which would mean travellers arriving in the UK would no longer have to self-isolate.
Tier rules and travelling in England
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday morning (24/11/20), Shapps said that regardless of which tier of coronavirus restrictions people find themselves in after the country's national lockdown ends at midnight on 2 December 2020, they will be permitted to travel outside of their area for the purpose of overseas or international travel. "You will be able to travel again after 2 December," said Shapps, adding: "Obviously, you should be sensible and cautious with it."
There are currently no restrictions due to coronavirus for entering France from the UK. From 02/12/20, it is possible for British holidaymakers to travel unrestricted within France. Read the latest information - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france
Brexit - travelling to France from 01/01/21
This will have no impact on travelling to France for holidays aside from:
- No visas will be required for UK citizens. Passports will still be required as before but they will require 6-months validity. The UK has never been part of the Schengen passport-free European travel area, and therefore there have always been identity controls for UK travellers coming into the EU. This won't change and you won't see any difference in queues.
- For those driving, an International Driving Permit may be required if no agreement is reached with the EU. This can be easily obtained from UK Post Offices for £5.50.
- For those driving with their own car, a car insurance Green Card may be required if no agreement is reached with the EU. These can be obtained free of charge from your insurer in most cases.
- The EHIC health scheme will no longer be in place if no agreement is reached with the EU. Travel insurance (which we have always insisted our clients have in place, as this is good practice) already covers all these aspects anyway.
- Procedures for those wishing to travel with their pets will be more complicated and we would urge anyone wishing to do so to look into this well in advance of travel.
French ski resorts
On 26/11/20, French Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed that all French ski resorts will open from 02/12/20 and that shops will be open too. Bars and restaurants across France will re-open on 20/01/21. Restaurants are however allowed to open for takeaway and delivery and many in our ski resorts will do so. Each local tourist office is compiling a list of those that will offer this service. We are also trying to obtain this information so that we can advise clients accordingly.
Outdoor activities (aside from downhill skiing) are allowed to take place across France and will be available in ski resorts from 02/12/20. Indoor activities will be closed until January.
Hotels and apartment residences are allowed to open as normal. Health and safety measures to prevent the risk of COVID-19 have already been tested during the summer season and will continue to be in place. Our featured accommodation will open as scheduled from 19/12/20 in most cases.
SKI LIFTS AND SKI AREAS
A final and formal decision is expected soon as to whether ski lifts will be allowed to open in December. If not they would open in January and by 20/01/21 at the very latest.
The French Prime Minister has announced another meeting with ski area professionals on 11 December to finalise the matter and hopefully announce a date.
We will update this as soon as we have seen the official confirmation.
Any other questions?
Many questions our clients have been asking us over the few past weeks are covered on a dedicated ABTA page found here https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Ski Collection is a member of ABTA and this helpful page provides the answers to some frequently asked questions relating to coronavirus and travel.
Our team is available to help clients on our usual office number during our office opening hours. For the time being however, we currently no longer accept holiday enquiries in person. Please call us for any enquiries relating to new bookings.