England announced Wednesday it will allow fully vaccinated visitors from the United States and the European Union to visit without needing to be quarantined - a huge and long-awaited boost – not just for those separated from loved ones - but for airlines and travel companies… which have been pushing for an easing of restrictions.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
"We've always said we need to move in line with what's going on in the real world, obviously people being vaccinated in Europe and in America now means that we can move to that next stage, which is allowing people to come here and if they are double vaccinated, avoid having to quarantine as long as they've taken a test before they leave and after they arrive."
Britain's travel industry has criticized the government for being too slow to open up, saying it has squandered its lead in the global vaccine rollout and given the EU a headstart in attracting tourists.
The new rule – which takes effect on August 2 - currently only applies to England but is widely expected to be followed by the rest of Britain shortly.
The government said international cruise sailings could also restart from England.
Weighed down by cumulative pandemic losses of $4 billion, airlines such as British Airways and Britain's biggest airport Heathrow, welcomed the move but said more was needed to be done if the industry is to recover from a collapse in demand.
Vaccinated travelers travelers also still have to take an COVID-19 test before departure and shortly after arrival in England.