The Consumer Lawyer

The new covid restrictions; your obligations and consumer rights

Further restrictions have been introduced this week, and for some this will have a catastrophic effect on their half-term holiday. Here’s what you need to know:

The rules in England

Government has launched a three tier system and designated areas into one of the three tiers.

Tier One areas

If you live in a Tier One area, you can travel to, and stay anywhere in England which is also in Tier One.

Tier Two areas

Government says that those who live in Tier Two areas should “reduce the number of journeys they make where possible”. However, it is still permitted to go on holiday outside of your area, but you must observe the rule of six.

Tier Three areas

Those who live in Tier Three areas should not travel outside of their area unless it is for work, education, or essential caring responsibilities. This means that you are prohibited from going on holiday in another part of the UK. Interestingly, if you live in a Tier 1 or 2 area, you can travel and stay in a Tier 3 area, but Government advises against it.

The rules in Scotland

Strict restrictions have been put in place across Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley health board areas, and a set of very tight restrictions have been introduced in the central belt. The Scottish Government has advised those living in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the central belt, not to travel outside of the area until the end of half term (October 25) unless it is essential, and for others not to visit this area unless necessary. Travel for holiday will not be deemed as necessary travel.

In addition, all licensed premises in the central belt have to close until 25 October, although they can still serve takeaways.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes in the rest of Scotland will not be allowed to serve alcohol indoors; They can only open between 06:00 and 18:00 for food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Hotels across Scotland can serve evening meals to residents, but without alcohol.

The rules in Wales

Wales has imposed tougher rules as people from areas of England, classified as Tier 2 or 3, will be banned from travelling to Wales, as will those who reside in Northern Ireland or within the Scottish central belt. If you live in any of these areas, and are due to travel on holiday to Wales, you will not be able to go.

There are also parts of Wales under local restrictions where you may only leave or enter if your journey is “essential”, which includes going to work (where you cannot work from home), but not going on holiday, nor visiting for a holiday.

My holiday is affected, what are my rights?

If you are booked to stay at accommodation located in an area where local restrictions prevent the holiday, you will be entitled to a full refund. However, it is important that you do not take the step of cancelling. Instead, you should contact the holiday provider and ask ‘can you confirm that the booking cannot go ahead due to the new restrictions?’ They should confirm this, which will then effectively mean it is the provider who is cancelling the holiday.

If your accommodation is not in an area where restrictions prevent the holiday, the position is far more difficult. The starting point is that if the holiday provider can still allow you to occupy the accommodation, and it therefore does not need to cancel, you will not be entitled to a refund.

However, if local restrictions in the area where the accommodation is based directly affect the booking, you may have grounds to a refund, or a reduction in price. For example, if you have booked a hotel which has to close its swimming pool or restaurant, you could claim that the effect is that it is not the holiday you booked.

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