THE government’s new quarantine hotel booking platform has FINALLY opened – after it was forced to be taken down just minutes after launching.
The new website was revealed yesterday but with no available hotels for the first two days, despite being enforced from Monday.
The quarantine hotel booking website is now live for all “high-risk” arrivalsCredit: Alamy Live News
The new rules are in place from February 15 but the platform had no availability until February 17.
Thankfully, it is now running and guests can book hotels from Monday through the online portal here.
Here is everything you need to know about booking the hotels through the new website.
Who has to book into quarantine hotels and how much do they cost?
Travellers coming into England from 33 high-risk countries will have to book into quarantine hotels currently, including Portugal, the UAE, South American and South African nations – here is the full list.
From Monday, anyone arriving will have to quarantine for 10 days at one of the 16 hotels chosen by the government.
The cost of a stay is £1,750, however, a second person sharing a room will pay £650, making the total £2,400 for two.
The rate for children will be £325.
What does the quarantine hotel price include?
The £1,750 bill includes “accommodation, breakfast, lunch, evening meals and hot and cold drinks, two Covid tests and transfer from the port of arrival to and from the hotel at the end of the quarantine.”
Guests won’t be able to choose their rooms but families will be able to quarantine together or in adjoining rooms.
The website explains: “You will need to agree to pay for, and book, a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form (PLF) and board your return journey to the UK.
“The package includes the costs of transport from the port of arrival to the designated hotel, food, accommodation, security, other essential services and testing.”
All arrivals from “high-risk” countries will have to pay to quarantine at a hotelCredit: EPA
There are 33 countries on the current high risk list
What if I can’t afford the quarantine hotel rooms?
The government warns that anyone who doesn’t arrange the hotel before arriving in England will pay a fine of £4,000 and have to still pay for the hotel package on arrival.
Travellers who break the rules and leave the quarantine early face fines up to £10,000.
Passengers who cannot afford it will be able to defer payments over 12 months.
The website explains: “For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of this charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking.
“This is only available for individuals who already receive income-related benefits, and you will be required to pay back your debt to the government in 12 monthly instalments.”
Are there any other travel restrictions in place?
The new measures join the new Covid rest rules which requires three tests from all arrivals, starting Monday.
The additional coronavirus tests for anyone returning from a country not on the high-risk list must also be booked through the new portal.
Costing £210 for both, travellers must have the tests on day two and day eight of the mandatory 10-day quarantine at home.
Anyone who fails to do so will be fined up to £2,000.
Brits are not currently allowed abroad to go on holiday, due to the UK lockdown, so the new rules will mainly affect returning travellers for work or health reasons.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned that holidays abroad may not go ahead at all this year, or until all of the UK has been vaccinated.
Speaking on Sky News, he explained: “The truth is we just don’t know how the virus will respond to both to the vaccines and of course how people will respond.
“I’m afraid I can’t give you a definitive, will there or will there not be the opportunity to take holidays this next year either at home or abroad.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Shapps said travelling abroad would depend on “everybody having their vaccinations” in the UK – and potentially abroad.
When asked if travel restrictions will stay in place until everyone has had a vaccine, he said: “Yes.”