Have your say: Do you agree with £5,000 fines for travelling abroad without a good reason?

Ross McGuinness
·2 min read
Passengers wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), including a face mask as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, observe social distancing measures as they wait at almost-empty check-in desks in the departure hall at Terminal 1 of Manchester Airport in Manchester, northern England on May 11, 2020, where they have begun a trial of body temperature screening during the COVID-19 pandemic. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to quarantine people arriving in Britain by air for 14 days to prevent new COVID-19 infections from abroad, under a phased lockdown easing that seeks to avoid a second spike. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
People in England could face fines for travelling abroad from next week. (AFP via Getty Images)

A ban on people in England going abroad without a reasonable excuse is set to be introduced.

It is included in new coronavirus laws which come into force next week – and could see travellers fined up to £5,000.

The legislation, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, was published on Monday and will come into force on 29 March.

The document states: “The Regulations also impose restrictions on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse (regulation 8).”

The law says no one may “leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom, or travel to, or be present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom” without a reasonable excuse.

It suggests anyone who breaks such rules could face a £5,000 fine.

There is also a £200 fixed penalty notice for failing to fill in a travel declaration form – giving person details and reason for travel – for those planning to leave the UK.

The travel ban does not apply to those going to the common travel area of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland unless that is not the final destination.

Exemptions also apply for those needing to travel for work, study, for legal obligations or to vote, if they are moving, selling or renting property, for some childcare reasons or to be present at a birth, to visit a dying relative or close friend, to attend a funeral, for those getting married or to attend the wedding of a close relative, for medical appointments or to escape a risk of harm.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner said: “Previously, the ‘holiday ban’ which the government had advertised was assumed rather than explicit – because going on holiday wasn’t a reasonable excuse, it was assumed you couldn’t be outside of your home to do so. But now it is explicit.”

The regulations will be voted on by Parliament on Thursday.

Read more: These are the only reasons you can leave the country from 29 March

Watch: Summer holidays under threat as COVID cases surge abroad