The enduring Covid travel restrictions that could still ruin your Easter holiday

When we visit foreign lands we often talk of “travelling back in time”, but usually that refers to visiting ancient ruins or wandering cobblestone streets, rather than diving back into a pandemic.

Sadly, you might indeed be traveling back to 2021 on your holiday. For, while all Covid-19 rules and regulations have been scrapped in the UK, this is not definitely the case when traveling overseas.

The good news for the majority of British holidaymakers is that most destinations have dropped the requirement for fully vaccinated British adults to take a test before entry, saving time, money and hassle. However, there are still tangly rules in place for unvaccinated arrivals with implications for families with children and teenagers, and vaccination passes are still the norm to enter bars and cafes in some countries.

What’s more, even though you don’t have to wear a mask on the train journey to the airport, you may have to cover up when you board your flight, and keep it on after arrival. Many airlines, including British Airways and Jet2, have scrapped their face covering rules between countries with no mask laws in place. But, unless you are flying to a small group of nations including Scandinavia and Ireland, the chances are you’ll have to mask-up on board.

If you are jetting off to Spain, Greece, Italy, France or the USA over the Easter holiday, take a moment to read up on the rules to sidestep a Covid holiday nightmare. Many other countries still have Covid rules in place; check in with the FCDO before you go.

Greece

Tests for unvaxed and young children to enter

If you or your children aged five and older are not vaccinated, you will need to show either proof of recovery, evidence of a negative PCR test result taken 72 hours before travel, or evidence of a negative lateral flow result taken 24 hours before travel. Fail to do so and you will be denied boarding. Fully vaccinated arrivals, or children under five, need not take a test to enter.

Possible tests on arrival

You and your children may also be required to take a Covid-19 test on arrival. Test positive, and you will have to self-isolate for five days, either in your hotel or a designated quarantine hotel. The FCDO does not make it clear which scenarios will see you ferried off to a controlled facility.

Masks (sometimes double) in public

While in Greece, you will be required to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, and wear “double masks” or a surgical FFP2/N95 mask on public transport and in supermarkets.

Vaccine certificates

Everyone has to show proof of vaccination or recovery to enter restaurants, bars and museums in Greece. Unvaccinated/unrecovered adults can only go inside shops and eat outside restaurants with a negative test (48 hours ago), although children aged four to 18 can do a bit more with a negative self-test result (48 hours ago) including going inside restaurants , shops and museums.

Spain

Possible booster required

If your second dose of the vaccine was issued more than 270 days before travel, you will have to show evidence of having received a booster shot more than 14 days before entering the country. This applies to everyone over the age of 12.

No entry for unvaccinated adults

You can only enter Spain if you can show valid proof of vaccination or a medical certificate certifying you have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months. Unvaccinated children aged 12 to 17 (inclusive) can enter with a negative test result.

Italy

Tests for young children to enter

Unvaccinated adults and children aged from six to 17 can take a test to sidestep quarantine in Italy. Since the vaccine has only been offered to children aged 12 and over in the UK, this means that all children aged six to 12 will have to take a PCR test 48 hours before travel, or a lateral flow 24 hours before entering Italy.

No indoor dining for unvaccinated teenagers

The Super Green Pass, activated by a vaccine certificate and/or proof of recovery, grants access to venues such as restaurants, cafes and bars. This means that teens will not be able to enter bars, restaurants and hotels unless they have received two doses. Fortunately for families with little ones, children under 12 are exempt from having to show a Super Green Pass.

United States

Tests for toddlers before arrival

All passengers boarding flights to the USA, regardless of vaccination status, must show evidence of a negative test result no more than one day before travel. This applies to all children aged two and older.

France

Essential travel only for the unvaxed

If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to provide evidence of a compelling reason for travel to enter France. This also applies to children aged 12 to 17 (inclusive), although teenagers traveling with a vaccination adult can sidestep this rule. A PCR test will also be required for unvaccinated adults, and an antigen test within 48 hours for those aged 12 and older.

Read more: How to prove you’ve recovered from covid in order to travel

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