The COVID pandemic may have fallen into the background of world events, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going away anytime soon. With the vaccine programme still ongoing and tens of millions of British citizens now fully vaccinated, the aim of “living with COVID” implemented by the British government is now well underway. With most flights now running into the country, guests of 5 star hotels in London will find it easier than ever to reach the city and may be surprised that most of the English capital has moved away from compulsory mask wearing and into a new era of post-COVID life.
But what does this mean for those who are still anxious about contracting the virus? Whether you’re a vulnerable person taking your first holiday since the lockdowns ended or you’re a traveller who is yet to be fully vaccinated, the city can still accommodate your stay safely. This blog will provide some tips and tricks for Montcalm Club guests who want to maintain COVID precautions during their trip to London, especially with recent news of infection rates potentially rising again in the coming months.
What Are The Rules In England?
In England, COVID infection rates have been on a downward trend for a few months now. It’s for this reason that, rightly or wrongly, the government has decided to scrap many measures pertaining to COVID 19 in not just London but Great Britain too. Paving the way for much of Europe, the slow liquidation of COVID 19 rules has meant that the English capital city looks a lot different now to how it did in 2021.
For The Vaccinated
Rules differ slightly between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Below are some of the rules that are in place for vaccinated visitors to England.
Quarantines Are No Longer Mandatory
On arrival at airports, train stations or other international hubs, those who have been vaccinated no longer need to quarantine upon arrival. If you have a vaccination pass that proves you have received both doses of your COVID 19 jab and the booster, then you can enter England without having to isolate.
Facemasks Are No Longer Mandatory
This is less of a rule specifically for the vaccinated, but it is no longer required to wear a face mask in busy public areas such as train and underground stations, theatres and music events.Though it’s not mandatory to wear one, facemasks are actively encouraged on public transport and in theatres especially.
Social Distancing Is Encouraged
Again, social distancing is not enforced in busy areas, but it is actively encouraged where possible. Infection rates and hospitalizations may be low at the moment but that doesn’t mean that they can’t rise over the summer, especially as the vaccine’s full effectiveness begins to wear off, and social distancing can help to limit transition.
For The Unvaccinated
There are several rules still in place for international travellers who haven’t, for whatever reason, been vaccinated yet.
Unvaccinated Tourists Must Still Test On Arrival
If you can’t present your vaccination pass at the airport, then you may be asked to take a test on arrival by your airline. You may also be asked to show the results of a test that you must take no more than 48 hours before your trip. If you test positive, you’ll have to self-isolate at your own expense for up to 10 days upon arrival in England.
Tips For A COVID-Safe London Trip
So, from the law to common sense and etiquette. Below you’ll find a few tips for enjoying London in a safe and socially distanced manner. For guests of hotels in Shoreditch like the Montcalm who are still worried about contracting the virus, know that the vaccination will not stop you being infected, but will minimise the symptoms you experience, therefore massively decreasing your chances of having to be hospitalised.
Wear Facemasks On Public Transport
One of the easiest things you can do on your trip to London is to continue wearing facemasks on public transport. If you’re planning to travel on London’s vast public transport system during peak hours, then consider not only wearing a facemask, but keeping hand sanitiser at the ready for your emergence from stations and public transport vehicles.
Wear Facemasks At Theatres And Galleries
Face Masks are also actively encouraged in other enclosed public spaces. Art galleries in London may still require you to book online for a free exhibition slot, although these rules are usually at the discretion of staff. If you’re unsure about whether an art gallery or museum facilitates less crowded galleries, make sure to check their website before visiting.
Keep Your Vaccination Pass Handy
Whether visiting a West End bar or east end nightclub, make sure to keep your vaccination pass handy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical printed document or presented on an app from your home country, but some venues may still enforce COVID pass mandates.
Visit Parks And Open Spaces
London is a designated green city and so it’s unsurprising that there are many parks and open spaces to enjoy. You can visit many of these parks from your central London hotel by walking or hiring a Santander Cycle from the many bike docks stationed around zone 1’s Westminster and London City. Travelling around the centre of London by bike or foot will lessen your chances of catching COVID 19 in the crowded stations and public spaces. If you want to further lessen the chances, avoid travelling through the city centre during the rush hours of 7 am till 9.30 am and between 4 pm and 7 pm.
Royal Parks And Nature Reserves
Some good examples of parks you can visit in London include the historic Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens situated near Kensington and Buckingham Palaces. Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath are two other areas that are beautiful and vast, thus lessening your chances of close contact with strangers. Hackney Marshes and Greenwich Park are also two historic areas with distinct attractions close by.