Quash Quarantine group considers legal action against restrictions

Eloise Hanson Eloise Hanson Uploaded 10 June 2020

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UK: More than 500 travel and hospitality companies have created the Quash Quarantine movement, joining airlines in opposing the 14-day quarantine rule for UK arrivals.

A nationwide campaign has seen mounting numbers join its cause (up from 200 last week) to lobby the British government to scrap the current restrictions on arrivals into the UK. 

The government’s current plan insists that travellers quarantine for 14 days for a “temporary, time-limited” period, or face a £1000 fine. It came into practice Monday 8 June, and will be reviewed every three weeks.

British Airways’ parent company IAG has initiated legal against the implementations, with backing from airlines Ryanair and easyJet. 

Travel Weekly reported that IAG has sent a letter to the Home Office, which is understood to expose loopholes that allow business travellers who commute from the UK to the EU to avoid self-isolation.

The legal case is also said to claim that the quarantine restrictions are unjustified. Those currently placed on people in the UK suffering from COVID-19 who are self-isolating for seven days do not face fines of up to £1000.

George Morgan-Grenville, chief executive of tour operator Red Savannah and leader of the Quash Quarantine group, said: “There are more holes than in a sieve in this unworkable, poorly-thought through and economically damaging government policy. The government has rushed through these measures, with no scientific evidence supported by its SAGE advisory group and no consultation with the travel companies that matter. We are taking soundings and discussing our next move. We are watching the BA legal action with keen interest.” 

The group has said it has received private assurances from senior government sources that travel corridors will be in place from 29 June, thereby allowing holidays abroad from July.

Paul Charles, spokesman for Quash Quarantine, said: “We urge the government to signal to the travel industry publicly and urgently that this is the case… We are still considering our options regarding legal action, including whether to join BA’s claim or launch our own action, but would prefer that 29 June is confirmed as soon as possible for the start of travel corridors. The industry needs urgent visibility on a timetable for travel to begin again.”

Quash Quarantine conducted a survey of its members last week and found that 71 per cent of owners and chief executives expected to make 60 per cent of staff redundant if the quarantine measures came into force. 28 per cent said they may go out of business altogether.

Following the legal action, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be taking personal charge of the proposed “air bridges” according to The Telegraph. 

Plans could enable holidaymakers to sidestep the quarantine from the end of June to visit low risk countries such as Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece.

Quash Quarantine is urging the government to make these announcements public.

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