UK govt exempts ‘high-value’ business travelers from COVID quarantine
LONDON, U.K., December 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — “High value” business travelers in the U.K. are now exempt from the same coronavirus travel restrictions imposed on regular civilians by the government and can skip the required quarantine upon re-entry into England from non-approved countries.
According to a new statement made by the Secretary of State for Transport in the U.K., Grant Shapps, “high value” travelers include senior executives, performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists, and elite sportspersons.
From 4am on Sat 5th Dec certain performing arts professionals��TV production staff��journalists �� and recently signed elite sportspersons��will also be exempt, subject to specific criteria being met – guidance will be available on https://t.co/39UIsvYiga soon— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) December 3, 2020
Average civilians, however, are required to quarantine after international travel from countries outside the government-approved travel corridor list. Travelers must quarantine, even if their stops in “red” countries are only layovers between flights. They may only end quarantine early provided that the results of a COVID-19 test, at their own expense, come back negative. However, the same rules do not apply for everybody.
Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Grant Shapps tweeted on December 3, that “high-value business travellers will no longer need to self-isolate when returning to ENGLAND from a country NOT in a travel corridor, allowing more travel to support the economy and jobs.”
New Business Traveller exemption: From 4am on Sat 5th Dec high-value business travellers��will no longer need to self-isolate when returning to ENGLAND from a country NOT in a travel corridor, allowing more travel to support the economy and jobs. Conditions apply.— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) December 3, 2020
According to The Guardian, “Senior executives classed as bringing ‘significant’ economic benefit are understood to include those whose work creates or preserves 50 or more jobs for either an existing UK-based business or a new UK business within one year of their arrival.”
MP Ben Bradshaw for the Labour Party shot back in a tweet about the double standard, “Is this a joke? What Is [sic] high value? So the Government lets its rich mates in quarantine-free, while the rest of us trying to see our loved ones for Christmas have to quarantine for 5 days & then pay £150 for a test. #oneruleforrhem.”
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Jim McMahon, echoed Bradshaw’s sentiments. In a six-point open letter to Shapps released Monday, McMahon called on the government for clarity and transparency on its exemptions. According to the Labour Party website, McMahon has asked Shapps for a “regional breakdown of the effects the policy could have on both the economy and public health, as well as the full criteria used to determine who falls into the so-called ‘high value’ category.”
McMahon also asked in the letter, “What message does the Government feel it is sending, at a time when following Covid rules is critical, when there are one set of rules for those it considers ‘high-value’ and another for everyone else?”
“If the Government is serious about supporting businesses and saving jobs, it must set out a proper plan to support everyone through this crisis,” he added. “Labour has been clear we must protect jobs in every part of the country and rebuild business with a support package that reflects the level of need and severity of restrictions in different areas.”
The U.K. is not the only place with different standards for two different groups of people.
In Los Angeles, TMZ reported, a woman running a restaurant “posted a video showing a movie production in full swing — with outdoor tables and tents set up right next door to her now-shuttered eatery, Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill, in Sherman Oaks. In the video, [she] says she can’t fathom why her restaurant was forced to shut down (again) — even after she had successfully ran outdoor dining for months behind her building — but film sets like this, which look virtually identical in set-up dining-wise, can soldier on.”