Give me a crash course in . . . travelling this summer

Non-essential travel to be allowed from July 19th with European destinations most likely

Q&A: People coming to Ireland from Britain have to quarantine at home for 14 days. File photograph: iStock

Q&A: People coming to Ireland from Britain have to quarantine at home for 14 days. File photograph: iStock

 

So, can I take a well-earned break overseas?

Strictly speaking, not for another few weeks. Government advice remains that travel outside of Ireland should be for essential reasons only. That is due to change on July 19th when people will be asked to travel safely in line with public health guidelines. But even then, things aren’t straightforward.

Was there something about further restrictions involving Britain?

That’s for people coming from Britain to Ireland. It was initially proposed that our family, friends and neighbours across the Irish Sea would not need to quarantine on arrival here if they were vaccinated. However, the Cabinet changed its mind amid concerns about the more infectious Delta variant which has taken off in parts of Britain. Now, those coming to Ireland from Britain have to quarantine at home for 14 days. If fully vaccinated, they can leave quarantine if they get a negative PCR test on day five. Otherwise they must wait to be cleared by a second PCR test on day 10. The tests are free of charge at any HSE testing centre. Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said this caution will last for a “few weeks”.

Can’t people just travel through the North to get to the Republic?

There are no checks on the Border, and there is growing demand for travel between Britain and Northern Ireland. Shipping company Stena Line is to launch a temporary ferry service between Belfast and Holyhead in Wales to cope with a surge in bookings, while demand for other cross-channel services is very high, it said. Anyone arriving into Ireland through the North who has been overseas in the previous 14 days is expected to comply with relevant restrictions depending on where they have travelled from.

And what about a sun holiday?

It will depend on your favoured destination. European travel seems a more likely option. Some countries demand a Covid-19 test, the costs of which could add hundreds of euro to the trip for a large family. However, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said tests shouldn’t be needed for European travel later in the summer, as soon as enough Irish and European people are vaccinated. European Union certificates will allow anyone who has been vaccinated or recovered from the virus to travel “without the hurdle of testing”.

EU certificates?

The EU Digital Covid Certificate – a de facto Covid passport – is official proof that a citizen has been either vaccinated, has a negative PCR test or recovered from Covid in the previous nine months. It will allow holders free movement within the EU and European Economic Area. It will be on your mobile phone or you can request a hard copy. It will be free of charge and the Government has yet to announce details of how it can be obtained here.

What about outside the EU?

Here is where it gets more complex. Travellers will have to check what the restrictions are in the country to which they intend to travel. So, for example, let’s take the United States. Currently non-US nationals or non-permanent residents are banned from travelling to the US if they have been in Ireland. There are some exemptions for close family members of US citizens and permanent residents. A negative Covid-19 test, from within three days of arrival, or proof of having recovered from the virus in the previous 90 days is required. That may or may not change in the coming weeks.

And other countries?

There are more than 50 so-called “designated” countries – which include many popular sun spots – subject to mandatory hotel quarantine on return. This includes if you are only transiting through them. The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was too early to say if this will be extended beyond July 19th. A new concept of an “emergency brake” will also be applied for countries outside the EU where there are potentially dangerous variants of concern in circulation. Under the plan, even vaccinated passengers will need a negative PCR test and must self-quarantine on return. The unvaccinated will need to go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days, which could end after day 10 if they get a negative test.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.