People leaving England for a foreign holiday could face a £5,000 fine under coronavirus rules to be voted on by MPs. But the eye-watering penalty has prompted a furious reaction from Express.co.uk readers.
Commenting on this website, one reader fumed: “Life under a dictatorship is fast becoming intolerable.”
Another wrote: “Police state Britain… If this goes on much longer many will be getting one-way tickets out… China is freer than the UK… This is madness.”
A third blasted: “Welcome to HMP Great Britain.”
Another hit out: “I am sick of this dictatorship. It is time we all said No More!”
A fifth commented: “They don’t want us to ever go back to normal. When will people realise this? There is now NO THREAT to the NHS.”
One more added: “Prison island.”
However some readers were in support of the draconian fine.
One insisted: “Nobody should be considering holidays abroad this year until every country has caught up vaccinating people and the virus is under better control in every country.
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According to the legal document: “The Regulations also impose restrictions on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse (regulation 8).”
The law says no-one may “leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom, or travel to, or be present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom” without a reasonable excuse.
It suggests anyone who breaks the rules could face a staggering £5,000 fine.
There is also a £200 fixed penalty notice for failing to fill in a travel declaration form – giving personal details and reason for travel – for those planning to leave the UK.
The travel ban does not apply to those going to the common travel area of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland unless that is not the final destination.
Exemptions apply including for those needing to travel for work, study, for legal obligations or to vote, if they are moving, selling or renting property, for some childcare reasons or to be present at a birth, to visit a dying relative or close friend, to attend a funeral, for those getting married or to attend the wedding of a close relative, for medical appointments or to escape risk of harm.
Under the current plan for easing restrictions, the earliest date people in England could go on holiday abroad would be May 17.
Speaking this morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast: “The question is whether we’ll be able to release any of these measures over the summer.
“I entirely understand people’s yearning to get away and have a summer holiday, and we’re looking at that question right now as part of the global travel taskforce, which will report in the middle of next month.
“The earliest that will take any steps will be May 17 but, obviously, we’re taking a cautious approach because we want any openings that we make to be irreversible.”