London travel restrictions – Can I travel to London right now?

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Restrictions were slowly easing down in London, but due to the climbing number of cases, London has moved to Tier 2 restrictions as of October 2020. This means there will be tough new restriction for the capital meaning a ban on mixing between households in homes and in pubs and restaurants - all of which leads to further travel restrictions in London.

Disclaimer: This blog is updated weekly to the best of our knowledge. For the latest travel advisories, we recommend checking the official government website.

Travel Restrictions in London - An Overview

All those who arrive in London have to submit a passenger locator online form. You can complete it any time in the 48 hour period before you are due to arrive in London. If you do not complete the form before you arrive, it might take you longer to enter. Depending on the country you're coming from, you will/may not have to self-isolate. However, if you've visited or made a transit stop in a country, territory or region that is not under London's travel corridor in the 14 days before you arrive in London, you will have to self-isolate. Here is a complete list of countries that come under London's Travel Corridor.

For citizens and residents in London, The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against non-essential international travel at this time, except to the countries and territories listed on London's Travel Corridors.

Transportation in London

  • Transport for London (TfL) has launched an app to help customers to not only plan real-time multimodal trips more effectively, but also be confident of social distancing and accurately assess active travel alternatives.
  • Masks and social distancing is an absolute must on all public modes of transpotr. A fine of £100 (US$130) could be imposed on people who do not comply with this.
  • With London being placed under Tier 2 restrictions, health officials advise against using public transport.

Eating out in London - Restrictions

As of October 2020, only pubs that “can operate as a restaurant and serve alcohol only with a main meal” would be the only pubs and bars allowed to open. This apart, there are a host of restrictions on eateries in the city. Here are a few key ones:

  • There is a strict 10pm curfew in place which affects all restaurants, bars and pubs; this means all customers will need to be out of the building by 10pm, with the restaurant's locking the doors then. Do expect early last-orders – you'll probably have to get the last food order in by about 9pm, and last drinks at 9.40pm at the very latest. Don't expect to be aloud to linger – 10pm is a firm line, and kicking out time will come a few minutes before that.
  • Table service will be strictly followed at all establishments. The only places exempt are fast food joints like Pret or McDonald's.
  • You need a wear a mask whenever you're not at your table. This includes when you're being shown to your table on entrance, and when you're using the bathrooms. The staff will be compulsorily wearing masks at all points too.
  • The new "rule of six" means that restaurants cannot permit bookings of more than six people at a table, either indoors or outdoors. If you're eating indoors, then people from different households cannot mix. However, outdoors, there's no limit on how many households can eat and drink together – so a group of six diners can be from six different households.
  • You will not be allowed book than one table and mingling between tables (even with people you know) is not allowed in indoor restaurants.
  • At the restaurant, you will have to check-in with the NHS Track and Trace App.
  • Do make reservations. While many London restaurants are still accepting walk-ins, reservations are being strongly encouraged as businesses try to manage numbers.
  • Some restaurants can ask a deposit upon reservation. No-shows plague businesses in the best of times, and now – with thousands of staff already laid off – restaurants are simply trying to minimise losses.
  • Card or contactless payments are encouraged in place of cash payments to minimise contact.

Tourist Attractions that are now open in London

Here's a complete list of all the tourist landmarks and attractions that are now open in London.

London Travel Protocols

As COVID-19 risk in the United Kingdom is high, The CDC recommends travelers to avoid all nonessential international travel to London. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to London. Essential travel may include traveling for humanitarian aid work, medical reasons, or family emergencies.

All travelers arriving into London will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, except for those arriving from a list of exempted countries. A passenger locator form is a must before you arrive in London. This form asks travellers to provide their contact details and UK address (If someone who is required to self-isolate does not provide an address, the government will arrange accommodation at the traveller's expense). There is a fine of £100 for not filling in the passenger locator form. Your passport or identity card will be checked when you arrive at a UK port or airport to make sure you’re allowed to come into the country. It should be valid for the whole of your stay. You will also need a visa to come into or travel through the UK, depending on your nationality.

Those not self-isolating can be fined £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or £480 in Scotland. Fines in England for persistent offenders have doubled to £10,000. If one does not provide accurate contact details, they can be fined upto £3,200 in England and £1,920 in Wales.

Who Can Visit London Now?

Quarantine Rules in London

The government currently requires the majority of passengers arriving in the UK to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Please check the latest advice and ensure you have completed the necessary forms.

A new taskforce is considering ways that people arriving in the UK may be able to end their 14-day self-isolation early, through a testing system. One option could be to allow travellers to pay for a coronavirus test a few days after they arrive, with a negative result allowing them to end their quarantine period early. People would have to pay for their own tests to avoid affecting NHS capacity.

Note: The Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish governments have different quarantine requirements differently.

Tips For Staying Safe in London

  • The risks of getting COVID-19 are higher in crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces where infected people spend long periods of time together in close proximity. Make sure to maintain a minimum of 2 metres (6 feet) from others at all points.
  • Always carry a sanitizer with you and sanitize often.
  • Masks are a must, but gloves are optional.
  • Avoid public transportation if you can and travel in your own vehicle.
  • Avoid greeting people by shaking their hands or hugging or kissing them.
  • Outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor ones, so opt for beaches and parks instead of malls and indoor spaces for recreational activities
  • If you're planning to visit a landmark or tourist attraction, make sure to check for tickets in advance and book a slot
  • A lot of establishments have closed due to the pandemic. It is worth checking over call before heading out there.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately. Call by telephone first, if you can and follow the directions of your local health authority.
  • Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover.

COVID Travel Resources London