U.K. to Exempt ‘High-Value’ Business Travelers From Quarantine

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The U.K. moved to exempt “high-value” executives from rules requiring people entering the country to quarantine for two weeks, in a move designed to boost business.

The rule change means that from 4 a.m. on Saturday, business people arriving in the U.K. from countries that aren’t on the U.K.’s travel corridors list won’t have to self-isolate for 14 days, the Department for Transport said Thursday in a statement.

“Individuals will only be exempt when undertaking the specific business activity and will only be able to meet with others as required by that specific activity,” the department said.

The change responds to concerns by industry groups that the U.K.’s quarantine rules were stifling deal-making and squashing business confidence. It’ll also be a boost to airlines and airports struggling to cope with a huge drop-off in air travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Current rules mean most travelers arriving in Britain from the U.S. and the bulk of Europe have to self-isolate.

Sports Stars

The exemption for executives applies to individuals arriving in the country with specific business that “would deliver a significant benefit to the U.K. economy, including activity that creates or preserves 50+ U.K. jobs,” the statement said. The change in rules also applies to elite sports stars, television production staff, journalists and performing artist professionals.

That will ensure “industries which require specific, high talent individuals who rely on international connections can continue to complete their work,” the department said. Health authorities “do not anticipate these changes will raise the risk of domestic transmission, due to the protocols being put in place around these exemptions, however all exemptions will remain under review.”

Until now, there were only a limited number of exemptions to the U.K.’s onerous quarantine rules, including for diplomats, armed services personnel, contractors traveling for essential government work and seasonal agricultural workers.

Separately, the Telegraph reported that the U.K. and Switzerland are set to announce a deal Friday to allow professionals to keep traveling freely between the two countries after Britain’s post-Brexit transition period ends Dec. 31. It will mean hundreds of thousands of British workers traveling to Switzerland yearly won’t require work permits, the paper said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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