£25 Covid test ‘risks being a tax on travel’

A £25 CHARGE for Covid-19 tests for fully vaccinated arrivals has already led to visitors cancelling trips and risks becoming a ‘tax on travel’.

Lateral flow tests (29815350)
Lateral flow tests (29815350)

Alan Sillett, president of the Guernsey Hospitality Association, said the charge for lateral flow tests – due to be introduced next Tuesday [3 August] – was already being felt by the tourist sector.

The Civil Contingencies Authority has made it a condition of travel that fully vaccinated adults from the Common Travel Area must each buy a pack of five lateral flow tests to pass through the ‘blue channel’ and avoid quarantine.

They are then recommended to take the first test as soon as they get home or reach their accommodation, and then test every other day. Payment of £25 is taken when people log their details on the States of Guernsey Travel Tracker app.

Currently, people from Jersey still need a negative PCR test within the 48-hour period before they travel. Non-resident locals are also being urged to take a pre-arrival test by the CCA.

‘The proposals have led to some confusion whereas before there was clarity. These tests are not supervised and therefore rely on the honesty of the incoming traveller. In effect it moves the border to our hotel receptions,’ said Mr Sillett.

‘Obviously we do not have the information that the CCA have to hand, and appreciate they are in an unenviable position with seriously tough decisions to make.

‘We do understand the concern that many of the local population have recently felt due to recent community seeding in Guernsey and Alderney, and rising positive cases in other jurisdictions.’

There had been an impact on bookings as well, said Mr Sillett.

‘It is certainly affecting us with cancellations and a major drop in future bookings.’

Asked if he feared it could become a ‘tax on travel’, he said: ‘Yes I do. It’s an added cost to visitors that they weren’t expecting.’

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