You’ve probably heard that due to rising COVID-19 cases, the United Kingdom has announced they will be going into another lockdown beginning tomorrow, November 5th, and (currently) lasting until December 2nd. As the UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow has to navigate this new situation. If you need to know how the lockdown may affect your planned travel through Heathrow, read on to find out.
The Rules for this Lockdown
For people who live in England, this lockdown prohibits all non-essential travel overseas and travel within the UK, except for work or educational purposes. Should you need to travel for one of these legal, “essential” reasons, you must also not have any symptoms or have a household member with any symptoms. If you ignore self-isolation rules, you’ll be subject to a hefty fine.
People who do not live in England will be subject to the same lockdown rules as citizens once they arrive in the United Kingdom. There are different rules for what you’ll need to do to get into the UK, depending on where you’re coming from. If you’re planning to travel to England during the lockdown, make sure to check and see if you will need to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
How Heathrow is Handling the Lockdown
Currently, departure lounges in Heathrow are very crowded as many people try to leave the country before the lockdown goes into place. Airlines have also canceled many flights out of the country during the lockdown period, as they anticipate there will not be enough travelers to fill their flights. Most are saying that refunds will not be offered for flights that are still operating, but you may be entitled to change to a later date for free.
This may sound like a recipe for a chaotic situation, but if you’re worried you can take a deep breath because Heathrow has the situation under control. There are plenty of stanchions to organize crowds into lines, and waiting areas have seats blocked off to allow for social distancing. Airport staff has been through this situation before and is even better equipped to deal with it now.
There isn’t much information out yet regarding whether or not you will have to prove your travel is essential, or what the procedure for that at Heathrow will be, so keep checking for updates from the airport before your trip.
Heathrow’s Safety Regulations
If you do need to travel to or through Heathrow soon, you can rest assured that the airport is taking all possible precautions to ensure a safe journey for you. Like most places, face coverings are required for everyone over the age of 11 and there are signs and floor stickers to help you social distance from fellow passengers.
Heathrow has also implemented a strict cleaning protocol, as well as providing over 600 hand sanitizer dispensers for your use. The airport is testing technology to work on more solutions soon, such as temperature screening and testing.
Have a Safe Trip
There’s no denying that these are uncertain times, and that can make for stressful travel days. However, we’re here for you to make sure you always feel prepared before your trips. Hopefully, this information has you feeling better about any upcoming trips you have to Heathrow during the new lockdown!