Travel restrictions have become commonplace over the past year, but England is kicking things up a notch. Announced on Monday, a new legislation (to be voted on Thursday by parliament) could impose a fine of $6,900 (£5,000) on anyone leaving England without a reasonable excuse.
Nonessential travel is currently banned in England under the stay-at-home order. Anyone leaving the country needs to fill out a travel declaration form declaring the nature of their trip. Upon their return home, UK residents are grilled by border patrol about the reason for their trip.
As is currently the case, the new legislation will allow foreign travel for work, volunteering, or study abroad. Medical needs, funerals, and weddings are also legally-permitted reasons to travel out of England, the BBC explained. People who are residents abroad are also allowed to leave.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement, “We are rightly ending as many national measures as safely as possible, while maintaining those which remain necessary and proportionate to help reduce and control infections further as we cautiously but irreversibly ease restrictions and our historic vaccination program continues apace.”
The new law aims to dissuade people from taking vacations abroad, and then increasing the virus’ transmission at home with the new variants that are spreading across the world. The travel restrictions, if passed by parliament, will be reviewed on April 12, and then again every 35 days.