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UK Eases Travel Rules from Some Alpine Countries

Travelling from the ski nations of Europe is now a little easier for those of us in the UK. However there are still some tough restrictions on entry as the UK has one of the highest current number of cases of Covid-19 in Europe.  UPDATED

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The changes came in on Sunday 8th August.

France moves from the Amber Plus list to Amber, which means the fully vaccinated will no longer need to quarantine when they return home after visiting the country.

“We are very pleased and relieved that the UK government has taken France off the Amber Plus list, as there seemed no good reason for the stricter rules concerning travel from France,” said Sara Burdon from the Morzine tourist office to PlanetSKI.

“It does come very late in the summer, but we hope this means that some British holidaymakers may be able to fit in a last minute summer trip to the mountains.

“We hope for more stability and simplicity in the rules going forward so the opening up of international travel now can help us all prepare for a good winter season, and start to bring some confidence back for holidaymakers,” she added.

In France, public health figures show hospital admissions on the rise with an increase in the incidence of the Delta variant.

Officials in the foothills of the Pyrenees and at Lake Annecy, have ordered people to wear masks outdoors after an increase in Covid-19 cases there.

Spain stays on the Amber list, despite earlier speculation that it might move to Amber Plus, meaning no quarantine is required for those double jabbed returning from the Spanish Pyrenees.

Several mountain countries are moving from Amber to Green, so even those who are not fully vaccinated will be able to return without isolating.

They are Austria, Norway, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia and Romania.

“We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we’ve made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world,” said the UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.

He added that, in future, travel restrictions would be reviewed every three weeks.

“I hope people will be able to go away under this simplified system, enjoy their breaks and not be looking over their shoulders the whole time,” Mr Shapps told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.

Last week the government announced that fully vaccinated people from Europe and US are to be allowed to enter the UK without quarantine

Fully vaccinated people entering the UK from an amber list country can avoid isolation if they have been double vaccinated.

As well as the USA and the EU the European mountain and alpine countries of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Andorra are included.

A pre-travel test and a PCR test within two days of arriving are still needed.

Chamonix in the summer

Chamonix in the summer. Image © PlanetSKI

However, returning to the mountains for a holiday is not as simple as it might seem.

Some countries are not yet welcoming British tourists.

The UK currently has 273 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people over a 7-day period.

It has the sixth highest number of current cases in Europe.

Many countries have restrictions in place, including quarantine on arrival.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic it’s being reported that the USA will eventually require almost all foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated.

The US borders are closed to most people in the UK and many other countries but an unnamed White House official has told journalists that a phased re-opening is being worked on.

No timescale has been given.

The BBC reports the official as saying: “with limited exceptions…. foreign nationals travelling to the United States – from all countries – need to be fully vaccinated”.

Here at PlanetSKI we’ve pulled together the latest information we have on the alpine countries whose status changes from Sunday 8th August.

The information, which applies to adults, was taken from government websites on Thursday 5th August.

The situation is subject to change so please check with the relevant authorities before travel. You can find more on the UK Government website 

AUSTRIA

Entry to Austria from the United Kingdom is currently prohibited by Austrian law.

There are exceptions to the rule, including travelling for important family events such as weddings, but the exceptions do not include wanting a holiday.

Those who are allowed to enter must complete a pre-travel clearance form, have proof of a negative PCR test before travelling AND quarantine for 10 days on arrival (five days with an additional negative test).

Austria has 37 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

Austrian Alps in the summer

Austrian Alps in the summer. Image © PlanetSKI.

FRANCE

The UK is currently on the French amber list with different rules for those fully vaccinated and those not.

Travellers who are fully vaccinated can travel freely with no need to have a test beforehand and don’t need to self-isolate.

There’s a requirement to complete a sworn statement that you don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus or been in contact with confirmed cases in the previous two weeks.

You will also have to have proof of vaccination.

Anyone in the UK who is not fully vaccinated can travel to France only for essential reasons and must follow strict rules, including testing and self-isolation for 7 days after arrival.

France has 228 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

French Alps

French Alps. Image © PlanetSKI

GERMANY

You can go to Germany from the UK for any reason if you are fully vaccinated but will have to complete a pre-departure digital registration.

If you’re not fully jabbed you can’t travel to Germany for a holiday.

You can go for other reasons only if you meet one of a handful of exemptions.

Germany has 19 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

ITALY

Travellers from the UK must present a negative molecular or antigen test taken in the 48 hours ahead of entry into Italy.

They must also self-isolate for 5 days, at the end of which they must take a rapid antigenic or molecular swab test for COVID-19 and test negative for release.

If flying you must present the airline with a negative COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test taken no more than 48- hours before travel.

Travellers arriving without proof of a negative test and details of where they will self-isolate may be refused entry.

People are required to wear a medical mask whilst on board flights to and from Italy.

Masks should be replaced every 4-hours if it is not possible to maintain social distancing.

Everyone arriving in Italy must also call the COVID-19 helpline for the region they are travelling in within 48- hours of arrival.

Exemptions from testing and self-isolation may apply to travellers transiting Italy in a private vehicle for less than 36-hours and those travelling for proven reasons of work, health or absolute necessity, for less than 120 hours.

The requirement to complete a passenger locator form will still apply to all travellers (even those exempt from testing and self-isolation).

Italy has 65 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

The Aosta Valley

The Aosta Valley, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI.

NORWAY

People who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 6 months – and can prove this with  ‘a verifiable COVID-19 certificate that is connected to the EUDCC gateway’ –  can enter Norway.

There is no requirement to quarantine, or to take a test before arriving or at the border.

The UK is currently on Norway’s ‘dark red’ list so anyone who does not meet the requirements mentioned above will have to complete a self-declaration form in advance and present a negative COVID-19 test certificate on arrival.

The test can be a PCR or Rapid antigen test and must have been taken within the 24 hours before departure.

People should expect to be tested again on arrival and quarantine for up to 10 days.

“Finally, some good news for Norway, with the UK government announcing Norway will be added to the GREEN travel list from Sunday 08 August,” said the CEO of Norway – Home of Skiing, Trevor de Villiers to PlanetSKI.

Trevor de Villiers, Norway Home of Skiing

Trevor de Villiers, Image © Norway Home of Skiing

“We have been experiencing an unprecedented surge in bookings to Norway from all our UK operators and Airline partners over the past months, and this very welcome news will add further stability and reassurance to the UK consumer and give them confidence to book their ski holiday to Norway this coming winter – great news.”

Norway has 44 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

ROMANIA

The UK is on Romania’s high risk Red List.

Anyone not fully vaccinated, or with proof of recovery from Covid-19 between 14 and 90 days before arriving, must quarantine for 14 days.

For short trips (less than 72 hours), proof of a negative PCR test is enough to avoid quarantine.

Romania has 6 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

SPAIN

The Spanish government requires all arrivals  from the UK to show a pre-travel declaration form and either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination.

Medical certificates declaring recovery from Covid-19 in the last 6 months prior to travel are not accepted for UK arrivals.

Spain has 316 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

SLOVAKIA

Fully vaccinated travellers can enter Slovakia.

Air passengers have to complete a Passenger Locator Form and show a negative PCR test, even if you have had both doses of the vaccine.

Those who are not fully vaccinated  have to isolate for 14 days, with the option to end isolation early after another negative PCR test carried out in Slovakia.

Slovakia has 6 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

SLOVENIA

Slovenia has complicated rules on vaccination and travel.

The country will allow some travellers who had had just one dose of a vaccine to enter.  It all depends which vaccine you’ve had and you’ll need to check.

You can also travel there with a negative test or proof of having had Covid-19 in the previous 6 months.

Slovenia has 36 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

SWITZERLAND

People from the UK are eligible to enter Switzerland for any travel purpose if fully vaccinated and can show adequate proof.

This means either proof of vaccination, proof of recovery in the last 6 months or a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure.

Negative PCR tests (not older than 72 hours) or a rapid antigen test (not older than 48 hours) are accepted.

Children under the age of 16 are exempt from testing.

A negative COVID-19 test will not grant your entry to Switzerland if you are not eligible to enter (i.e. fully vaccinated or exempt.)

Switzerland has 66 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

Switzerland in the summer

Switzerland in the summer. Image © PlanetSKI

 

Border controls

Border controls. Image © PlanetSKI

 

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