It has been suggested that UK vacations and overnight stays may soon be allowed if infection rates continue to decline.
Hopes were raised on Friday after leaked reports claimed they were outlining a three-step timeline for the reopening. The mirror reports.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to give assurances that the UK holidays will be approved, only claiming he is “hopeful”.
However, national newspapers reported that the prime minister would allow non-essential stores to reopen towards the end of March if the key R-number stayed low, followed by the hospitality industry reopening, starting on April 2, just in time for the Easter weekend.
One unnamed government official commented, “My understanding is that the Prime Minister is being encouraged by a series of data showing the positive effects of the current lockdown.
“By March, there is also a good chance that almost, if not all, over-50s and younger vulnerable groups would have received at least their first dose of a vaccine.
“Optimism is mounting on Downing Street and we could have a beer in the pub until Easter if the data continues to improve in the coming weeks.”
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When Boris Johnson visited Newcastle on Saturday, he was asked if the public could book stays “with confidence” this summer.
He said, “I don’t want to say much more than I’ve already said about it. I’m hopeful, but it depends on a couple of things: We need to keep the pandemic going. Right now we need to put the vaccination program in place to continue the successful way we are currently seeing.
“But we have to take one thing at a time and just be careful.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously said he had booked his own stay in Cornwall despite ministers warning it was “too early” to promise a vacation could take place.
UK domestic vacation demand will exceed pre-pandemic levels this summer, according to a new survey.
Marloes De Vries of market research firm Mintel said domestic breaks demand could reach a 10-year high this summer due to the huge pent-up demand after many trips were canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
She continued: “The UK vacation market will continue to benefit from cautious and budget conscious consumers who choose to stay closer to home.
“The introduction of quarantine hotels and mandatory tests for all arrivals increases the uncertainty in what is normally an important booking period.
“As a result, more travelers will book a stay.”