Scottish holidaymakers have bypassed Nicola Sturgeon’s strict travel rules by dashing across the English border to save money on Covid tests. The Scottish First Minister refused to follow England after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps scrapped the need for an expensive PCR test two days after arrival south of the border. While Scotland did follow England in simplifying the travel traffic light system, the expensive Covid PCR tests remain mandatory.
GB News Scotland reporter David Donaldson remarked that there was an exodus of Scottish holidaymakers across the border into England.
Speaking from Edinburgh airport, Mr Donaldson said people in Scotland are travelling to England to avoid more restrictive Covid travel rules.
He explained: “The rules at the moment are that you have to have a PCR test on departure. On the way back, you have to have a PCR test within two days of coming back.
“So that is another cost, as well as the hassle of having to go and do the test as well.”
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The GB News reporter continued: “For England, it is about to get much much easier.
“No PCR tests, lateral flow instead, and merging the amber and green lists together, which will allow people to fly to other countries.
“As ever up here, it is a more cautious approach. The PCR test will remain in place for the time being.
“It’s quite empty here. People are travelling from Scotland to Newcastle, to Leeds to Manchester, to Liverpool and flying from there instead because it will be much, much easier for them.”
Travellers interviewed by GB News criticised the “inconsistency” among the home nations, while another said it was “too much” and “silly” to do a Day 2 test.
Edinburgh Airport predicted Scottish passengers would head across the border to save on testing costs.
An airport spokesman said: “We are now the most restrictive country in Europe yet there is no justification or health benefit to retaining testing measures, something clinical professionals and experts have themselves said.
“This is great news for airports in Manchester and Newcastle.
“Passengers will now travel there to avoid expensive tests and save around £100 per person, taking money out of Scotland’s economy and threatening our airline capacity.”
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Defending the Scottish Government’s decision, the country’s Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson, said there were “concerns” that following England’s relaxation of rules would “weaken our ability to protect the public health of Scotland’s communities”.
Travel firms said they had already seen an uptick in bookings following the England rule travel.
Steve Heapy, chief executive of tour operator Jet2, said there had been a “phenomenal” consumer reaction since the announcement.
Thomas Cook said October half-term bookings were three times higher than in August and it expected this weekend to be the biggest of the year.