Boris Johnson offered a glimmer of hope to Britons considering booking breaks when he unveiled his non-containment roadmap.
Hospitality has been closed since the start of the third national lockdown imposed by the government in response to the Covid pandemic.
Why are hotels closed?
All holiday accommodation was closed when the country entered a third national lockdown on January 4, 2021.
This included hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, holiday apartments, houses, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses, river boats or any other vessel.
These businesses were only allowed to open if they offered accommodation to someone with essential reasons to travel, such as self-isolation or if a person is unable to return to their primary residence.
Leisure or holidays are not allowed under the domestic travel ban under the current coronavirus lockdown rules, which were enforced by Mr Johnson earlier this year.
This decision was made in response to variants of the Covid virus driving up infection rates across society, increasing hospital admissions and sadly deaths across the country.
When will the hotels reopen?
With the situation improving, as the vaccination program continues to offer the most vulnerable protection against the deadly disease, there is reason to be optimistic for the months to come.
Infection rates and the number of people hospitalized with Covid have fallen in recent weeks, leading Mr Johnson and the UK government to seek ways to ease some of the restrictions imposed.
The Prime Minister outlines a four-step plan to open up society to lockdown, outlining key dates for schools to return on March 8, the rule of six from March 29 and the reopening of non-essential shops from April 12.
Travel to England was allowed again from April 12, along with self-contained holiday stays like self-catering, camping and visiting second homes, as part of the second stage of the easing of the lockdown.
Hotels and bed and breakfasts, however, are not allowed to reopen until stage three of the roadmap, which is dated May 17 at the earliest.
Group holidays and hotel stays will be able to proceed as normal from June 21, when all legal limits on social contact will be removed, according to the roadmap.
People will also be allowed to take day trips to attractions such as zoos and theme parks from April 12, although visiting indoor pubs and restaurants will only be allowed from of May 17.
What are the important factors?
The schedule is based on four factors:
– the continued success of vaccine deployment and supply flow
– vaccines continue to have a positive impact on reducing the number of people dying and being admitted to hospital with Covid
– infection rates are not at risk of an increase in hospitalizations, which would put pressure on the NHS
– all variants of concern highlighted do not fundamentally change the government’s risk assessment
When can I book a vacation?
All bookings can be canceled if overnight stays for leisure purposes are not permitted, although that hasn’t stopped some desperate Britons from a change of scenery after the locked winter months.
Cornwall and the South West region has proven to be very popular with many considering a stay this year. Some international travel will be allowed from May 17.
When will hotels reopen in the rest of the UK?
In Scotland, tourist accommodation, including hotels, can reopen with restrictions in place from April 16.
People in Wales were able to visit self-contained holiday accommodation, such as hotels with private bathrooms and room service, from March 27, with a tentative date of May 17 set for other hotels to reopen and guest houses.
Hotels can reopen from May 24 in Northern Ireland.