In case anyone is tempted to sneak off for an Easter break to one of the countries that have declared themselves open to vaccinated Brits, the Government has made it illegal to leave the country for non-work reasons from March 8th. In guidance published yesterday, it states:
From March 8th 2021, you must complete this form to declare the reason that you need to travel abroad.
You don’t need to complete the form for travel within the UK, to Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
You should print a copy of the completed form or save it to a mobile phone or other device.
You may be asked to show this declaration form at the port of departure. You may carry evidence to support your reason for travel.
Entering a port of departure to travel internationally without a completed form is a criminal offence, for which you could be fined.
If you try to travel abroad without a legally permitted reason, you may also be fined for breaching the stay at home requirements
Writing in the Telegraph, Chris Leadbeater is not impressed.
There is a definite element of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to today’s announcement of a new “Declaration to Travel” – which will come into force on Monday (March 8th).
At first glance, it might seem as innovative and attractive – to that section of the electorate which wants even tougher restrictions, at all costs – as an Everlasting Gobstopper, or a stick of chewing gum which runs through the flavours of a three-course dinner, including the pudding.
But on closer inspection, it is revealed to be as pointless and impractical as, well, a piece of confectionery that turns the consumer into a big blueberry – or a Fizzy Lifting Drink where the imbiber has to burp to stay grounded.
As with much that has come out of Downing Street and the offices of state around it during the pandemic, the Declaration to Travel is fantasy thinking. But not in a good way.
Let us look, first of all, at what it is meant to do. Officially, it is designed to ensure that anyone attempting to leave the UK in the coming weeks has good reason to do so –and can demonstrate as such by typing their details into a three-page document that can be waved at the airport or ferry terminal, at anybody shoving their beak into your business.
But what will it actually achieve? Nothing – beyond scaring any lingering urge to go anywhere out of the citizens of a country who have been locked down, threatened with quarantine, and gas-it with the prospect of fines for all manner of minor offences for the best part of the last year.
Worth reading in full.