Sun-starved Brits hoping for a foreign getaway in June face having their hopes dashed as overseas travel could be banned until July.
International travel is currently banned for most people under lockdown rules but the law is being changed for when the stay-at-home order lifts on March 29.
Under the provisional new rules, non-essential foreign travel could be off the table until June 30 but Brits will have to wait until next month for a clearer picture.
A Government taskforce is looking at when foreign travel could restart and is expected to report to Boris Johnson by April 12.
The lockdown roadmap says holidays abroad will not be allowed until May 17 at the earliest – but the new legislation is likely to hit hopes of an earlier reopening.
According to The Times, the June 30 date is for “legislative convenience” and does not pre-judge the review decision – instead it gives Ministers the option of extending the ban to that date.
But it comes as Boris Johnson warned a third wave of Covid in Europe would inevitably ‘wash up on our shores’.
The Times further warns quarantine-free holidays may not be possible to many destinations until August or September.
Rising cases in Europe have reportedly alarmed ministers who are ‘increasingly pessimistic’ about allowing non-essential travel by mid-May.
Quoting an unnamed ‘government source’ The Times reports the ban had been extended ‘to stop people travelling before May 17.’
It added: “It will interact with the government’s global travel task force, which reports on April 12.”
MPs are set to vote on the new coronavirus laws on Thursday amid growing anger from Tory backbenchers over Mr Johnson’s refusal to speed up the lifting of lockdown rules.
Lockdown expires on March 31 and the new legislation for restrictions for the coming months was published on Monday by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
It states no-one can leave England to travel outside the UK, or travel to or be present at an ’embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom.’
It is against the rules to do so without a ‘reasonable excuse’ and any breaches carry a hefty fine of £5,000.
The travel ban does not apply to visits to the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland.
Meanwhile, thousands of people have instead booked ‘staycation sailings’ with P&O Cruises this summer.
The cruise line’s flagship Britannia and new ship Iona will set sail from Southampton between June and September, travelling around the UK’s coastline.
The itineraries do not include stops at any ports, apart from one Britannia sailing which will visit Liverpool.
For her maiden voyage, Iona will anchor off the small Scottish island after which she was named, until sunset.
The UK’s largest cruise line said thousands of guests made bookings for three, four and seven-night domestic cruises when they went on sale on Monday.
The government has advised people to avoid all cruises since July 9, 2020, due to Covid.
But maritime minister Robert Courts told MPs earlier this month that domestic cruises could be permitted from May 17.