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UK Considers Quarantine-Exempt International Business Travel

The government’s travel taskforce suggests ditching self-isolation requirements for short term visits – but it’s strictly business

The UK government’s Global Taskforce on Travel has issued a report suggesting that short term visits by international business travelers could be exempt from current quarantine requirements. The proposal is currently being studied to determine its feasibility, according to the report.

The report recommends that there be a “short stay exemption for business activity” for trips of one to three days. The effect would be that international business travelers “would not be required to self-isolate if undertaking business related activity only.”

The exemption “would explicitly not extend to socializing or any other non-business-related activity.” In addition it would not extend to British business travelers returning home from a trip abroad.

The report states that the taskforce is “working with industry and clinicians to consider the feasibility of the proposal, including building on the conference pilots, examining how we can restart business conferences in a COVID-secure manner as early as possible in 2021.”

The reason for the exemption, according to the report, is that “business travel is expected to recover most slowly and that there is a clear need to boost confidence. An exemption for short-term business trips from the need to self-isolate on arrival would clearly have a major beneficial impact in supporting such journeys, which make an important economic contribution to the UK.”

Other recommendations in the taskforce report include the “test to release” program, set to go into effect Dec. 15 for arrivals to England from non-exempt countries. Under that requirement, after a five-day isolation period, travelers who test negative for COVID-19 will not be required to quarantine further, but they will have to pay for testing

The taskforce is also recommending developing a pre-departure testing proposal with partner countries on a bilateral basis. Pilot programs to determine the efficacy of pre-flight testing are already being conducted by several carriers on transatlantic services.