Honeymoon couple cut short Swiss Alps trip to beat quarantine deadline

Holidaymakers have cut short a honeymoon and a visit to family to return home before the introduction of new quarantine rules covering Switzerland.

From 4am on Saturday, travellers arriving in England from the European country will be required to self-isolate for two weeks due to its rate of coronavirus cases.

Passengers arriving at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2 from Zurich on Friday morning revealed how they had changed their travel plans to beat the quarantine deadline.

Daniel Maree and Leisa Evans, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, decided to end their honeymoon early, spending around £200 on new flights.

The couple, both 43, who were travelling with their four-year-old son, were due back from their Swiss Alps break on Saturday, after the deadline, but decided to change their flight home before the Government’s announcement.

“We took a chance and said ‘Well, if it happens, it happens,” said Mr Maree.

“I would have lost two weeks of work – I’m self-employed, so no work, no pay. It would have affected us quite a bit, especially after an expensive holiday.

“We anticipated it so it wasn’t that much of a shock. Yeah, it’s a bit disappointing.”

Mr Maree said they had flown to Switzerland a week ago despite being aware of other countries, such as France, being hit by recent changes to travel quarantine rules.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip you do, so we thought we’d take the risk,” he said.

Commenting on the Government’s handling of travel corridors policy, he said: “I’m sure they know beforehand that they are going to announce it, say a week later. So they might give people a bit more notice, which would have been probably better.”

POLITICS Quarantine
POLITICS Quarantine

Saul Burban, 26, from London, also rebooked his flight to beat the impending quarantine deadline, bringing an early end to a trip to see family.

He flew out on August 16 and was due back at 8pm on Saturday, but managed to change his flight for £28.

He said: “We got the warning a couple of days beforehand; it would have been a massive drama if they’d only told us on the day, or only mentioned it on the day.

“But there were rumblings in the press a couple of days before that so it sort of gave me a heads-up so I knew to keep an eye on it.

“When I thought, yeah, they are going to make the decision, I just rang up. I actually rang up a little bit earlier to get my flight and I’m happy that I did because that was the only flight that was available, leaving at 7 o’clock in the morning.”

Mr Burban said he knew the risks of travelling, but added: “I hadn’t seen my family in about eight months and it was the first opportunity.”

He added: “People have had a pretty hard couple of months. If someone wants to go on holiday, they do it at their own risk. As long as they’re responsible and quarantine for two weeks when they come back, it doesn’t bother me.

“Luckily I managed to get back a little bit earlier; if I hadn’t, I’d have probably had to quarantine myself. I wouldn’t have expected much sympathy because I chose to go out there in the first place.”

Mr Burban said he was “surprised” that the travel rules covering Switzerland were changing, adding: “Everyone seems to be social distancing reasonably well there, they didn’t have masks in shops and stuff, but other than that it seems basically to be the same as here.”

Meanwhile, one traveller, who only gave his name as Jamie, actually booked two flights back home from a part-business and part-holiday trip to Switzerland.

The 36-year-old said: “I planned this trip a little while back and I pre-empted that there would be quarantine introduced due to the R rate so I pre-booked an extra flight.”

Jamie, who runs a landscaping business, said he could not afford to have to self-isolate for two weeks, spending £300 on Friday’s flight, on top of another booked for Sunday.

“I would have done anything I could do to get back in time,” he said.

He added that he was “not angry” over the Government’s decision, saying it has a “difficult job”.

“I took that risk going out there,” he said.

Jamie highlighted that the quarantine rules also affect people travelling for business as well as holidaymakers.

“I could see this coming so I wasn’t in a terrible situation, it’s just that obviously the flights get very expensive and it becomes very difficult for passengers,” he said.

He said he was “lucky” to be able to book an extra flight, but added: “I know many aren’t able to do that.”