‘High-value’ business travellers, sports stars and performing arts professionals will be exempt from England’s quarantine requirement for international arrivals from Saturday.
Journalists and TV production staff will also benefit from the new policy announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps on Twitter. Exemptions will be “subject to specific criteria being met”, the Cabinet minister said.
These include trips that create or preserve at least 50 UK jobs.
Individuals will only be exempt when undertaking specific business activity and will only be permitted to meet with others as required by that, the Department for Transport (DfT) said in a statement.
Further information will be issued once the new rules come into force at 4am on Saturday.
The DfT said sectors such as media and elite sport were also selected for exemption from quarantine as they “require specific, high-talent individuals who rely on international connections”.
It added: “PHE (Public Health England) do not anticipate these changes will raise the risk of domestic transmission, due to the protocols being put in place around these exemptions, however all exemptions will remain under review.”
Currently, nearly all people arriving in the UK from destinations not believed to be at low risk of coronavirus are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of independent travel agency The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “We are delighted to learn that business travellers will be exempt from quarantine when returning to England from a country not in a travel corridor.
“We do however urge the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP to clarify the definition of ‘high-value business travellers’ in order that our travel management companies can hit the ground running and advise their clients accordingly.
“Time again, the hospitality industry has been afforded support and flexibility with regards to Covid-19 restrictions not least currently whereby business lunches are permitted.
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“It’s about time that business travel, worth £220billion to the UK economy, can also benefit from appropriate flexibility and support from the Government to ensure no more time is wasted with regards to recovery.”
No changing are being made this week to the travel corridors list, which states where anyone can return to the UK from without needing to enter quarantine.
The list features destinations deemed to have low levels of coronavirus.