Transport operators will be required to provide passengers travelling to and from England with details of the government’s stay-at-home restrictions from Monday (8th March).
Passengers travelling by sea, air or rail to or from outside the Common Travel Area (including the UK and Ireland) will face a £200 fine if they do not provide evidence of their exemption from current blanket restrictions on non-essential travel.
Exemptions to the travel ban include some work, volunteering, education, medical or compassionate grounds and some weddings and funerals.
Transport companies such as airlines, ferry companies and rail operators must ensure passengers are given this government guidance, the Department for Transport confirmed this afternoon.
Operators must send a text or push notification to passengers travelling from England to tell them: “International travel from England is restricted – only travel if you have a legally permitted reason. You must carry a declaration form. Penalties apply.”
They must also ensure passengers receive government guidance that non-essential travel, such as for holidays, is not allowed; and that travel declaration forms must be carried by anyone travelling for essential reasons as these may be required at airports and ports. This can be done via email or over the phone.
Where passengers are checked-in online, operators are asked to include a check box for them to acknowledge everyone being checked-in has completed a travel declaration form.
Operators must keep records of the steps taken to provide the information in the required manner to passengers. These records can be requested by the Civil Aviation Authority, the Office for Rail and Road or the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
For those travelling to England, operators must update passengers on the guidance at the booking stage, at check-in, send a further notification 24 to 48 hours prior to departure to UK, and remind passengers on board the vessel, aircraft or train.
This include notification of UK entry requirements, including 10-day quarantine and proof of a negative Covid test taken within three days of departure to the UK, and a requirement to take a Covid test after two and eight days in the UK. The legal requirement to wear face coverings on transport must also be communicated.
The DfT confirmed that where travel sales are managed by a third party, such as a travel agent, the operator must show that they have taken reasonable steps to ensure the information is provided by the third party to the passenger.
If a booking is made by someone other than the passenger, it is sufficient that information is handed to the person making the booking.
Those travelling to the UK from 33 ‘red list’ countries remain subject to hotel quarantine restrictions for 10 days.