Travel Restrictions 2021.
As one of the biggest airport parking companies in the UK, we are used to serving 100’s of holidaymakers, business travellers, and solo adventurers, daily. We, ordinarily, meet and greet our loyal customers at most of the airports in the UK, ensuring their cars are safe and secure whilst they take a few days, weeks and even months away in other countries.
As we all know many industries have suffered terribly through the pandemic. Mainly the industries that serve us outdoors, allow us to travel, explore, be with nature, eat and drink in different places apart from our own houses and gardens! On the flip side of this, the companies and industries that serve our indoors have boomed and prospered. We’ve gardened, shopped online, made all kinds of things, watched ALL the series, had restaurant meal kits delivered so we can, for just a moment, feel like we are eating somewhere other than our own dining room!
One thing we all haven’t been able to do of course is travel, go abroad, fly to other countries whether to holiday, work or see family and friends. The travel industry has been hit hard by this pandemic, and big names like Flybe, STA Travel and even travel giants Thomas Cook have unfortunately gone into administration.
Is there a new light at the end of the tunnel?
After a couple of years of being much quieter than usual, and fortunately keeping our heads above the water, we are starting to get phone calls and emails once again. In fact, since Monday, we have been pretty much inundated with airport parking enquiries, and even bookings, across all the airports we offer parking and meet and greet at. This is no surprise to us to be honest as we have been following the ‘roadmap’ on tenterhooks, awaiting the day that the UK is allowed to travel and fly, once again.
Foreign holidays are currently banned, as we know, but on Monday (3rd May) the British government announced that travel will be able to slowly resume, in the next few weeks, from May 17th!
Of course many MPs, and the British public alike, are super wary of opening up too fast and then seeing a rise in cases once again, and it seems that Boris Johnson agrees with this too.
“We do want to do some opening up on May 17 but I don’t think that the people of this country want to see an influx of disease from anywhere else. I certainly don’t and we have got to be very, very tough, and we have got to be as cautious as we can, whilst we continue to open up.” the Prime Minister is quoted as saying to reporters this week.
So what travel restrictions have changed?
There will be further announcements, but at the moment, this is what we know.
A traffic light system is going to be introduced where countries that we can travel to / from will be classed as GREEN, AMBER or RED.
- If you travel to a ‘green country’, you won’t have to stay in a quarantine hotel or isolate whatsoever on your return, but you will need a negative covid test.
- If you travel to an ‘amber country’, you will need a negative covid test and have to isolate for 10 days, but again you won’t have to stay in a quarantine hotel on your return.
- Travelling to ‘red countries’ will be the strictest, and only UK / Irish nationals will be able to return, as well as getting tested and having to stay and pay for a government quarantine hotel for 10 days.
At the time of publishing this article, we still don’t know what countries will be on the coveted ‘green list’ but there is much speculation running through every media outlet in the UK and Europe, with some suggesting that there will be at most a dozen countries only, which might include Portugal, Spain and perhaps Greece.
So is it safe to book a holiday now?
As we said, we have already received many airport parking bookings, especially at our busiest airports of Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow. People are desperate to get some sunshine, to see family and friends abroad, and we very much expected it to be the case following the first announcement that travel restrictions would start to be lifted.
We also think that it’s because we offer travel support during covid-19, and have completely rewritten our bookings and cancellation policy to move with these unpredictable times. Customers are now safe in the knowledge that, if their holiday or flight gets cancelled, they can change, edit and rearrange with no penalties or charges.
We think if you are really eager to book your holiday, please check the company’s cancellation and refund policies. Many, like ourselves, will have amended them to move with the current situation. However, many will not have and you don’t want to book a holiday, flights, transfers and airport parking, if you then can’t get anything back if covid strikes, yet again!
What is Maple’s new booking and cancellation policy?
CHANGE, EDIT AND REISSUE YOUR BOOKING WITH NO PENALTIES/CHARGES.
- ALL customers will be able to book airport parking across our network of airports, with the peace of mind that, should your travel dates change, there will be no change or reissuance fees. Only a difference in fare, if applicable, will apply.
- If you are not able to reissue your travel dates, we will happily give you a credit note for the same amount, to ensure you are able to book as and when your dates come through. This is again, completely free of charge.
- If you must cancel, simply give us 24 hours’ notice and we will release your dates and offer you a full refund.
What are travel companies doing to keep customers safe from covid when they travel?
This is another question and policy we’ve been working really hard on over the last few months. The last thing we want is an outbreak between our customers and staff, and we only hope that all travel companies from airport buses and transfers, to airlines and the airports themselves will be following the strictest protocols when they start seeing more and more travellers come through their doors.
Here’s what Maple have done to keep customers safe and to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus;
- Our new operating guidelines will ensure that we always maintain social distancing as well as no contact for all drivers and passengers.
- All staff will wear PPE and will administer hand sanitizer on their gloves before and after each customer AND vehicle interaction.
- All staff have been fully trained to work in this different environment and to follow all of our new health and safety protocols.
- Customers will be offered antibacterial wipes to use on their steering wheel, gear shift and hand controls prior to driving home. (Please note: Maple Parking will not use wipes on the car ourselves due to; (1) potentially damaging leather or other surfaces in the car and (2) we feel some customers will feel more reassured if they do it themselves.)
- All customer meeting areas will have a protective clear screen separating customers and Maple Parking staff
- All meeting areas will have hand sanitiser available for customers to use
- Similar measures will be in place throughout the company to reduce the potential for the spread of the virus amongst our staff.
It is our main priority to ensure all passengers experience the same high level service whilst in our care, and both passengers and drivers are kept safe.
We very much look forward to welcoming you back, and feel that by all working carefully together, travel can resume safely.
We can’t want to meet and greet you at the airport once again!