On Monday, families and friends rejoiced at London’s Heathrow Airport after a law change meant they could be reunited after an 18-month pandemic separation.
“Very, very excited. It means the world,” said Sue Blake, as she was waiting for her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson, flying from New York and who she hadn’t seen for two years.
“It’s a big chunk of his life, and I’m so thrilled for him that he can come here,” she added, speaking of her eight-year-old grandson.
Amidst speculation of more restrictions, Heathrow’s CEO, John Holland-Kaye, pleaded to remove travel barriers while watching the hugs and tears in arrival halls.
“Let’s just make it easier now for people to travel,” the CEO said.
Britain reopened borders to most of the world on Monday, although the Covid-19 death toll reached nearly 130,000.
Fully vaccinated arrivals from the EU, except for France and the US, could skip quarantine.
Such a move was welcomed by divided families and strained airlines due to Covid-19.
Colleen Castro, a 31-year-old medical writer, said, “It is really awesome,” soon after taking her belongings and luggage.
She came to London with her husband to break some good news to his parents.
“It’s been a really long time and, actually, I’m pregnant with my in-law’s first grandchild, so it’s really exciting to finally be able to be here and share that news with them.” She added.
The Opening for all countries except France has been met with disapproval as travellers from France must still be quarantined due to London’s Covid-19 concerns.
Just before getting on the train from Paris to London, Alain Jourdain said, “It’s a bit scandalous for the French.”
Jourdain was quarantined for ten days in order to see his children, who last saw him in 2019.
“It’s very complicated, in particular, all the paperwork to fill for the UK government.” He added.
According to the Times, the situation can get even more complicated as the travel industry faces a new setback with the government’s warning to lockdown during holidays to Spain.
“We just need to keep things simple. We need to build confidence in travel,” Holland-Kaye said when asked about the supposed rule-change.
The UK has one of the fastest vaccine programs in the world, but the government puts the tourism industry at bay for its maze of rules and last-minute changes to the Covid-19 plan.
Spain has the potential to fall into a ‘red’ risk category called “The Amber Watchlist” which would make the authorities quarantine arrivals in hotels.