Hannah Morley makes the case for travelling.
18 months since the pandemic began we still find ourselves unable to travel freely. Back in May, the government implemented a traffic light system that slammed us with green, amber and red list countries; passenger locator forms; quarantine; and enough Covid tests to make your head spin. Since then, restrictions have been easing, especially for fully vaccinated people, with quarantining no longer required for those returning from an amber list country as long as you are double-jabbed. However, England has changed the rules yet again. There will be no amber list. The traffic light system has been replaced simply by a list of no-go red countries. For everywhere else, the biggest difference is going to be for the fully vaccinated. Only one PCR test will be required on day two of returning to England.
If we no longer have to factor in a PCR test to our travel costs, the thought of escaping for a short break abroad becomes even more tempting. But is it the right thing to do? This pandemic is far from over, and there are new Covid-19 variants appearing all the time. There has been a rise in people taking staycations and exploring our own beautiful country to play it safe. But sometimes we need a change of scenery, a different culture to explore. And sometimes we just need the feel of a sandy beach between our toes, turquoise seas, and a cocktail in hand.
Many people have felt their mental health take a nosedive over the past 18 months, with the lockdowns and restrictions everybody has had to adapt to a different way of life. Then there are the key workers, the ones who had to work through the worst of the pandemic in hospitals and care homes, and shop workers putting themselves at risk to provide an essential service for their communities. As a former key worker, I can attest to the stress and the burnout caused by this pandemic. Do we need a holiday? Yes, we do!
“As a former key worker, I can attest to the stress and the burnout caused by this pandemic. Do we need a holiday? Yes, we do!”
We are in a transitional phase. Restrictions are still here, but we can go clubbing again. Music festivals are pumping life back into people’s hearts. Sporting events are attended by cheering crowds. The enthusiasm for life that we sorely lacked last year is creeping back into our lives.
With this rejoice in the comeback of normality, however, there is still the fear that persists in telling us to prioritise our physical health and those around us. But are we not already doing that? We wear our masks, sanitise our hands, stick those infernal swabs up our noses and isolate when we need to. Last year we sacrificed certain freedoms to protect ourselves and other people. As long as we follow the rules; get vaccinated; and exercise proper hygiene, travel should be an activity taken with joy rather than fear.