Hotels across the UK have sat largely empty since the country entered its third national lockdown on January 6. The rules prohibit people from doing, well, most things – including any non-essential travel.
Under current restrictions, you shouldn’t be leaving the house, let alone travelling out of your local area. You cannot stay overnight anywhere that isn’t your main residence, and there’s only a very limited list of exceptions, including for those travelling for essential work or attending funerals.
Happily for both would-be holidaymakers and cash-strapped hoteliers, these rules will soon ease. Here’s what you need to know.
When will UK hotels reopen?
Yesterday, prime minister Boris Johnson laid out the UK’s roadmap for easing restrictions. It stated that domestic overnight stays in hotels, hostels and B&Bs will be allowed for leisure purposes from May 17 – meaning ‘staycations’ will be back on for British travellers just in time for summer.
The reopening of hotels is part of Step 3 of the government’s ‘unlockdown’. From the same date, restaurants and pubs will be allowed to reopen for indoor dining in groups of up to six, while theatres, cinemas and concert halls will also be able to welcome the public again.
When will self-catered holiday cottages reopen?
For those hankering after a getaway of any kind, there’s another date you’ll really want to circle in your diary: April 12. From that date, self-catered accommodation, including holiday cottages and Airbnbs, will be allowed to accept reservations again – as long as guests are all part of the same household.
Non-essential shops will also reopen on that date, along with restaurants and pubs for outdoor dining and drinking – so you can do a tour of beer gardens around your cute holiday cottage. Bliss.
One thing to note: if you’re planning a trip with friends or family who you don’t live with, you’ll still have to wait until May 17. That’s when self-catering stays resume for up to six people who aren’t in the same household or bubble (or two households – whichever is more). And if there are more than six of you, you still won’t be allowed to stay together until the final restrictions are lifted, no sooner than June 21.
Now we’re on the home straight, the prospect of a summer holiday feels almost too good to be true. And, just FYI, it might still be – all of the dates in the government’s roadmap are subject to delay based on the latest infection data.
Still, it’s high time we had something to look forward to, and a stay at a swanky hotel feels like just the thing.