Great news for vaccinated Americans and Europeans wanting to travel to England to see loved ones, sightsee or … wait in long airport queues.

According to the New York Times: “As of next Monday, the rules will apply equally to all travelers from the United States, the European Union, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland who have been fully vaccinated with shots authorized by either American or European drug regulators, Mr. Shapps said. It is unclear how British authorities will verify travelers’ vaccination status if they got their shots elsewhere. He said travelers will still need a negative coronavirus test before a trip, and will still have to take a PCR test after reaching England. It remains unclear whether the pre-departure test would be have to be for the virus, itself or for antibodies. The tourism industry had long advocated the policy change. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier on Wednesday that he wanted American travelers to come to England “freely.” The new policy applies only to England, not to the whole of Britain. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland make their own decisions about foreign travelers.”

Here are some of the headlines from major UK newspapers and some airlines’ reactions:

BBC: EU and US arrivals will not have to quarantine from 2 August
“Arrivals from the EU and US will be able to come to England from an amber country without having to quarantine if they’re fully vaccinated from 04:00 BST on Monday 2 August, the transport secretary has announced. Grant Shapps tweeted that the changes will apply to fully vaccinated people with an FDA or EMA approved vaccine. “They’ll still need to do the usual pre-departure test before arrival and take a PCR test on day two of returning to the England,” he says. “We’re also able to confirm the restart of international cruises and flexible testing programmes to help key workers and drive our economic recovery. Whether you’re a family or a business, this is progress we can all enjoy,” he says.”

Sky News: Fully vaccinated travellers from EU and US won’t have to quarantine on arrival in England, government source says
Fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and the US will be able to avoid quarantining when they arrive in England, a government source has confirmed. US citizens must have a vaccine card proving their full vaccination to be exempt, while EU citizens need to possess the bloc’s “green pass” showing their vaccination status to be exempt from isolation.

Daily Mail: Britain is open for business! Quarantine rules are set to be DROPPED for fully-vaccinated travellers from the EU and America as well as ex-pats who had jabs abroad – but Brits STILL can’t go to the US
Ministers agreed to allow double-jabbed US and EU tourists to be exempted from quarantine rules in England. Whitehall sources are increasingly confident France will be removed from ‘amber plus’ list from next week. Fears Spain will be upgraded into band amid anxiety about the prevalence of Beta – South African -variant. Speculation mounting that Germany and Austria are set to move to the travel ‘green list’ from next week.

Virgin Atlantic: Fully vaccinated EU and US citizens arriving into the UK will no longer be required to self-isolate
Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic said: “Following news that fully vaccinated EU and US citizens arriving into the UK will no longer be required to self-isolate, we stand ready to work with Government to ensure new rules are smoothly implemented at pace, supporting the reopening of the Transatlantic corridor. Recent proof-of-concept trial between Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow and British Airways has demonstrated our readiness to rapidly operationalise an expanded Amber policy, with 99% of customers’ vaccine credentials authenticated at the point of departure. “We now urge UK Government to go further and move the US to the UK’s ‘Green list’ and for the Biden administration to repeal the 212F proclamation for UK travellers. The UK is already falling behind US and EU and a continued overly cautious approach towards international travel will further impact economic recovery and the 500,000 UK jobs that are at stake.”

United Airlines to Operate More than 40 Weekly Flights as England Re-Opens to U.S. Travelers
“With today’s announcement of England reopening to fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. beginning Aug 2, United Airlines is making it easier for business and leisure customers to jet across the pond with the addition of flights to London. In August, United will have six daily flights between the U.S. and London, including a second daily flight from Washington, D.C. and increasing service from Houston to daily. United looks forward to resuming additional London service in the coming months as well as launching new nonstop service between Boston and London. Customers traveling to England must be fully vaccinated in the U.S. with vaccines that have been approved by the FDA and must take a test before departure as well as a PCR test within the first two days of arrival. Passengers vaccinated in the U.S. will also need to complete a passenger locator form prior to traveling to England and provide proof of U.S. residency.

U.S. Travel Reacts to England Reopening Plan
U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement regarding the news that England would soon begin welcoming fully vaccinated Americans: “British government leaders have made a wise decision in reopening England to vaccinated travelers from the United States. It’s time for U.S. leaders to do the same and set a timeline to reopen our national borders—and we encourage them to start with vaccinated travelers from the U.K., E.U. and Canada. The reality is there’s no difference between a vaccinated American and those vaccinated in the U.K., the E.U. and Canada.”

My Take
This is no doubt great news for the travel industry, loved ones wanting to reconnect and business travelers. However, the USA hasn’t reciprocated and I’m not sure they will with the Delta variant running rampant. I also wouldn’t want to be in Heathrow the first few days because I hear ‘Arrivals’ is already a mess. I can’t imagine what it will be like with the new influx of travelers.

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