Travel ban in Scotland: travel to airports is now illegal but...

Travel ban in Scotland: travel to airports is now illegal but...
Travel ban in Scotland: travel to airports is now illegal but...

Scotland’s new travel ban means it is illegal to go to the airport or a port to travel abroad, but taking the flight itself is still legal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 9:42 a.m.

Update Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 10:49 a.m.

It is illegal to go to Edinburgh Airport to take a vacation abroad, but not to take the flight itself

Michael Russell, the Cabinet Secretary responsible for the Constitution, was addressing the Covid-19 committee in the Scottish Parliament when Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie asked whether the new travel ban covered non-essential international travel.

The new ban, which goes into effect on Friday, will make it illegal for people in level three or four zones to travel outside of their council zone.

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Guidelines have been in place for several weeks in this direction, but the new rules will mean people will break the law if they cross their board’s boundaries for non-essential purposes.

Mr Rennie asked Mr Russell if international travel itself would be illegal under the new rules, to which the minister said no, but any trip to the airport to catch a non-essential flight would be illegal.

Mr Russell said: “International travel will not be illegal because it is up to the UK to do so, but going to the airport or to a port for this purpose would be against the regulations.”

Asked whether people can travel from Edinburgh or Glasgow to the cities’ respective airports, Mr Russell said this would be against regulations which will become law on Friday.

This means that people living in Edinburgh will be allowed to go to the airport for a Covid-19 test, but will face fines if they go on winter vacation.

However, those who travel from levels zero to two and levels three and four to fly on vacation will not be breaking the rules, the Scottish government has said.

Rules in place from Friday will give police the power to enforce the travel ban.

The law will cover people living outside of level three or four zones and traveling, except for essential purposes, and anyone traveling outside Scotland to other parts of the UK on non-essential travel.

Fines for breaking the regulations start at £ 30, doubling to £ 60 if not paid within 28 days. Those who break the rules multiple times can face fines of up to £ 960.

Edinburgh Airport added that the move “increased the pressure” on the aviation industry and again called for a testing regime at airports.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said: ‘This is clearly a fluid situation and we have asked the government to clarify what exactly this means for airports and aviation. We encourage passengers to consult government advice and guidance and make an informed decision based on it.

“This increases the pressure on the aviation and travel industries which have already been decimated by the quarantine policy. The screening regime we have always called for would simplify that by reducing public health risks and allowing people to travel.

“The time has certainly come for the government to take action in this area, as it has done with the students. “

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