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New Quarantine Exemption for Business Travellers

The Transport Secretary has recently announced on Twitter that a new high value business traveller exemption will apply from 4am tomorrow (5th December 2020). Our Employment team looks at what we know so far.

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The Transport Secretary has recently announced on Twitter that a new high value business traveller exemption will apply from 4am tomorrow (5th December 2020).

Although official government guidance has not yet been released, the government’s brief travel update highlighted that senior company executives (for example, directors or equivalents) returning or travelling to England will qualify for an exemption from the quarantine restrictions, meaning they will not have to self-isolate for a fortnight when returning from a non-exempt country.

This exemption appears to have several requirements and will only apply to those:

  • undertaking business activity which delivers “significant” economic benefit to the UK economy (understood to include those whose work creates or preserves 50 or more jobs for an existing or new UK business); and
  • whose work requires them to be there in person.

Individuals will only be exempt when undertaking the specific business activity (for those who are travelling to the UK, rather than returning) and will only be able to meet with others as required by that specific activity.

Exemptions will also come into force for domestic and international performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists and recently signed elite sportspersons.

These exemptions are likely to be extremely welcome news for those working in the travel industry as they signal a move towards loosening quarantine requirements. They will also be of benefit to those companies with international branches whose senior executives are accustomed to travelling frequently.

However, it remains to be seen what types of evidence the government will require to prove that a senior executive is on a business trip or that the business activity will deliver significant economic benefit.

The government announcement of the exemption can be found here. Further information is likely to be made available when the exemption comes into force.

If you have any questions about travel exemptions, coronavirus planning or any other employment related queries then the Collyer Bristow Employment team is on hand to help.

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