Travelling from Germany to UK over Christmas during Corona

61 posts in this topic

I'd love to visit my family in the UK over Christmas.  I was hoping the November lockdown in both Germany and the UK would mean this would be possible.   But now I'm not sure.  Especially with the rule about no households mixing indoors in Tier 2 areas - which looks like it might be in force till 23rd December - does that mean I and my family (husband and kids) can't stay with my parents when we arrive?

 

What are other British expats planning to do? 

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Have you considered cancelling your plans?

 

The UK is considered a risk area and under current regulations you'd be required to quarantine on your return. 

 

https://www.berlin.de/corona/massnahmen/einreisen/

 

It is unlikely that the regulations will be lifted, but rather that they will be tightened. 

 

Furthermore, if you end up quarantined because of visiting a risk area, you might not be entitled to being paid for the days you miss due to being quarantined.

 

https://www.haufe.de/personal/arbeitsrecht/urlaub-im-risikogebiet-trotz-bestehender-reisewarnung_76_520356.html

 

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We're staying sausage-side this year. Kids are upset, but it just doesn't seem worth it this year. Even restrictions and possible quarantine would make the trip a pain in the ar$e: who wants to travel back to England to find out you can't actually catch up with all your family anyway? Oh, plus of course the fact that travelling means at some stage you are likely to be in fairly heavy traffic area (ferry, train station, airport) where the risk of catching the bl00dy thing is higher...and do you really want to be in the UK if you get any of the symptoms? Then of course there's the reasonably likely border chaos when it's time to return. 

So, we're staying put and I'm hoping for snow.

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I decided during the Summer not to bother returning to the UK for Christmas and I thought there would be a rise in cases and  problems travelling.

 

At the moment the Germany isn't on the list of UK travel corridors (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors) so you would be expected to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in the UK and the same would probably be the case when you return to Germany from the UK.

 

As for mixing with other households, they say you can mix in a 'support bubble' but I'm not too sure what this is. I know children for separated parents can move between the two parents but other than that...

 

Personally I wouldn't recommend anyone travel for Christmas. I know it's nice to spend time with parents, grandparents, family, etc. over Christmas but it will hopefully only be for one year and once the vaccines get rolled out we can start to get back to some sort or normality without lockdowns.

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6 hours ago, karlak said:

I'd love to visit my family in the UK over Christmas.

 

We're in the same boat. I Have a one year old and it's my parents only grandchild. They've fortunately managed to come over 3 times in the last year, but the last time was in summer and the thought that they will have to wait again until next summer is killing them.

 

At the moment quarantining is required in both countries. You can in principle quarantine in the UK with your family and then on the 5th day you can take a covid test in order to be released early from quarantine under the new "test to release" scheme. You would then have to do exactly the same when returning to Germany. I have been heavily considering this.

 

But now with the tier 2 rules I am confused too. A support bubble between two families does not seem possible. But I don't know if being able to isolate with with your family (first link) trumps this.

 

It's a fucking shit year.

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6 hours ago, karlak said:

I'd love to visit my family in the UK over Christmas.

 

Me too. Grandparents in the UK would love to meet their new grandchild for the first time.

 

We booked flights way back in July assuming that the pandemic would be under control by now. How naive that turned out to be.

 

I've tried looking up the exact rules and regulations, but they're very complex, difficult to decipher, are constantly changing, and some are not even decided yet.

 

Here is Germany's information on travelling to the UK:

https://uk.diplo.de/uk-de/coronavirus

Most important thing is to fill out the UK's online form within 48 hours before arrival. It's a VERY long form. So set aside a good hour to work through it all.

 

And conversely, here is the UK's information on travelling to Germany:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/germany/coronavirus

 

I reckon you could get away with it.

 

For us, however, I think we're probably going to cancel. The grandparents are in the risk category due to their age. They've carefully isolated themselves most of this year, have come this far, so I don't want to infect them in the last month or two before the vaccines become available. If they got infected and succumbed on my account then that would be bad.

 

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1 hour ago, Chalmondley Warner said:

I think we're probably going to cancel. The grandparents are in the risk category due to their age. They've carefully isolated themselves most of this year, have come this far, so I don't want to infect them in the last month or two before the vaccines become available. If they got infected and succumbed on my account then that would be bad.

 

Kudos to you!  I wish more people would just swollow the bitter pill and do this...  

 

I havent seen my familly since before my Mom died...  ( The last time I hugged her and said "Love you".. was just that, the last time)...   Times are not easy, but by staying put means you are not responsible for transmitting this fecking Lurgy!

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26 minutes ago, Chalmondley Warner said:

I reckon you could get away with it.

 

I don't think that it'll be that easy and if the current rules continue it won't be legal.

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-support-bubble-with-another-household

 

The OP with her husband and kids can't form a support bubble with her parents because neither of the households have only one adult in it.

 

Therefore, they can't stay with her parents and I don't see what they are going to use as a reason for crossing the border.

 

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17 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

Times are not easy, but by staying put means you are not responsible for transmitting this fecking Lurgy!

 

This is the painful truth & it seems that a vocal group within the population are willing to put others at risk by their behaviour.

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40 minutes ago, engelchen said:

it won't be legal

 

It will be.

 

The UK government's page on self-isolation says...

 

Quote

You should self-isolate in one place for the full self-isolation period, where you can have food and other necessities delivered.

 

You must self-isolate at the address you provided on the passenger locator form.

 

This can include:

  • your own home
  • staying with friends or family
  • a hotel or other temporary accommodation

 

When staying with family there is no mention of isolating from that family. You don't have to lock yourself in a bedroom. That would be unenforceable anyway.

 

So, to travel legally this is the procedure:

  1. Complete the online form less than 48 hours before arrival
  2. Fly direct
  3. Wear a mask at both airports and on the plane
  4. Take private transport from the UK airport to your home
  5. Stay in your family's home, don't leave the house or garden
  6. Take a test after 5 days to leave quarantine early, otherwise stay 14 days

Having said all that, such travel is still officially "strongly discouraged". It's not illegal, but the government pages discourage it.

 

So regardless of the rules, I think the sensible thing is not to go.

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And this is where is becomes confusing - on the one hand you are allowed to self-isolate with friends or family if you travel from a country outside the air corridor, but on the other hand under Tier 2 restrictions you aren't allowed to mix indoors with other households except if you make a 'support bubble'. Which is correct?

 

And then you have the Christmas Bubble between the 23rd and 27th Dec where you can mix with people from a max of 3 other households - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family

 

It's just far too confusing, not worth the hassle and certainly not worth risking spreading covid.

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33 minutes ago, Chalmondley Warner said:

It will be.

 

The UK government's page on self-isolation says...

 

When staying with family there is no mention of isolating from that family.

 

But the national rules for England very specifically state you can only stay overnight with the other household in your support bubble.

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november#staying-away-from-home-overnight

 

Furthermore, there are restrictions on who is allowed to stay in hotels.

 

Overall, I think it'll be next to impossible to comply with all the restrictions and it'll open the OP up to a multitude of financial consequences if caught violating the restrictions (as well as the potential of spreading the virus, but if that was a priority she wouldn't even be asking). 

 

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While I have deep sympathies, with the comments above and I have a 90 year old mother that I want to go and see, that I have not seen in almost a year.

 

I think we should all think about whats right to do, not only what is possible from the un-clear rules.

 

People in general need to stay away from each other to stop the virus from spreading, meeting at Christmas in a big group of people from different households, is just going to spread the virus - and worst, if my mother gets the virus she could just die in a painful way.

 

I just do not want that to happen, and will stay away no matter what the un-clear rules are

 

But I do want to go very much

 

Hope everybody can find a way to have a nice safe Christmas

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The fines have been mostly handed out to the charmers who think that it's OK to have a full-on party during lockdown, multiple guests and activities. Not so much for small infringements, but the overriding problem is of bringing the Covid with you due to travel, and giving it to the parents and potentially killing them.

 

Friends went over at half term and stayed with parents, but that was pre-lockdown rules.

 

A couple we know moved back just as lockdown started, and stayed en-route with family on their way to their holiday home, but both of those otherwise illegal situations were within the rules for people moving house.

 

Just to go back for Christmas for the sake of it does raise huge moral questions.

 

12 hours ago, karlak said:

What are other British expats planning to do? 

 

Stay here.

I think you would get away with it, as Chumley says above, but that doesn't make it a good idea.

 

For those above who have babies who can't be with granny for Christmas  - that's really crap and I do hope it all works out soon so you can visit. What a year.

 

 

 

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yes I am also coming to the conclusion that we'll have to stay put.  We cancelled parent visits earlier this month, and I'd been holding onto hope for Christmas up to this week, since the hints from the politicians was that Christmas would be do-able... but I can see the numbers aren't going down...   

 

Although what's also confusing me is that there's discussion among politicians about whether people should be able to go skiing over Christmas!!  TBH I consider me staying put at my parents for two weeks and then carefully coming back home is MUCH more responsible  than having a jolly ski holiday, queuing for lifts, mountain restaurants, etc..  it seems a bit mixed messages about what should and shouldn't be allowed!

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11 minutes ago, karlak said:

Although what's also confusing me is that there's discussion among politicians about whether people should be able to go skiing over Christmas!!  TBH I consider me staying put at my parents for two weeks and then carefully coming back home is MUCH more responsible  than having a jolly ski holiday, queuing for lifts, mountain restaurants, etc..  it seems a bit mixed messages about what should and shouldn't be allowed!

It's infuriating, along with the govt saying there will be Christmas exceptions from December 23rd-January 1st before we even know exactly what's happening with the numbers.  🙄  Although I am only British via ancestry I join you all in solidarity.  Much as I would love to visit my relatives in the US and my young grandchildren in Armenia, and legally I can do either, it simply won't be happening because it's too risky for everyone.  😏

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I think there is reluctance to ban travel completely, rather relying on people's common sense .

Common sense tells us to stay home, celebrate with family and friends via FT, Zoom, phone etc.

Hopefully, this is one Christmas, Hanukkah missed, and if this helps stop more positive cases then it is worth it. 

I know how overworked nursing and medical staff are, and they will not be travelling  to visit family.

OP- I see how careful you are with possible trip, so stay safe and take care.

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I am staying here and keeping as far away from people as possible. Not a big problem as I am not the most sociable or christmassy person, but as its easy to do and its warm in my house, I will stay here and have a much more relaxed time than I would otherwise. 
I do feel sorry for those with children who have not seen (or been seen by) their grandparents, but hopefully there will be much more relaxed travel with no quarantine allowed as soon as they get the vaccine out to the public, and then children and non resident family can meet.

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