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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-requirements-to-provide-public-health-information-to-passengers-travelling-to-england/coronavirus-covid-19-required-information-and-exemption-periods-under-the-public-health-information-for-passengers-travelling-to-england-regulati
The government’s priority is to protect the public and stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). A key part of this is ensuring people entering England are aware of the public health advice and coronavirus-related duties for entering and staying within England, so that they can:
- make informed decisions about whether to travel
- arrive prepared to follow the necessary public health guidelines and comply with their duties
Requirement for transport operators to ensure provision of coronavirus information
Transport operators are required to ensure that passengers travelling to England by sea, air or rail from outside the common travel area are provided with information about coronavirus, and related duties and public health guidance. Updated requirements apply from 30 October, as summarised below.
Passengers must be provided with information at 4 stages of the passenger journey:
- at the booking stage
- at check-in stage
- notification 24 to 48 hours prior to departure to UK
- on board the vessel, aircraft or train
Where the booking or check-in process is managed by someone other than the operator, it is sufficient for the operator to show that they have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the information is provided by that person.
In practice, the reasonable steps may include writing to the third party responsible for managing the booking or check-in process (including via email) and asking that they provide the information to travellers at the stages that they manage.
Where someone books or checks in on behalf of the passenger, it is sufficient for the information to be given to that person along with a request to pass it on to the passenger if they are old enough and have sufficient mental capacity to understand it.
Essential information to enter the UK
The United Kingdom is taking steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
1) To protect your health and others’, everyone must complete an online passenger locator form before arrival in the United Kingdom.
2) You may be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. Check the exempt countries list immediately before you travel as this list can change at short notice.
3) It is a legal requirement that you wear a face covering on public transport in the UK.
Failure to comply with the above measures is a criminal offence and you could be fined. Please visit www.gov.uk/uk-border-control for detailed public health advice and requirements for entering the UK.
When this information is provided digitally, it must include the hyperlinks embedded within the text. When provided in writing, the information in Box A must be displayed prominently and not incorporated among terms and conditions.
The UK government logo may be included with Box A.
1. Booking stage
For online and telephone bookings, the operator must provide the information in Box A.
For online bookings, the information must be provided as set out in Box A and displayed prominently as part of the booking process on the operator’s website or mobile application.
Operators may embed the UK government logo within communications to passengers.
For telephone bookings, the information must be provided as scripted in Box A.
For in-person bookings, the operator may provide the information in Box A orally or may display posters that inform passengers of the need to complete a passenger locator form and to self-isolate.
2. Check-in stage
The operator, must provide the information as set out in Box A. Information must be displayed prominently on the operator’s website or mobile application, before the boarding card is issued. The information must not be hidden in small print or incorporated among terms and conditions.
Check-in at airports, ports and stations
Operators must either provide the information in writing or orally.
If providing information in writing, the operator may use government posters. These can be downloaded from the Ports of Entry Resources section of the PHE website.
If providing information orally, operators must provide the information as scripted in Box A.
3. Notification 24 to 48 hours prior to departure to the UK
Operators must send the following information to confirmed passengers 24 to 48 hours prior to their departure to the UK. The requirement to provide information 24 to 48 hours to departure does not apply to passengers who book or purchase a ticket within 48 hours of departure.
Operators must contact passengers booked to travel with them via one of the following methods: email, SMS message, app push notification, or phone call.
Email and phone call notifications
If communicating via email or phone call, operators must provide the information as set out in Box A in writing or orally.
SMS and app notifications
If communicating via text message or app notification, operators have discretion to use their own words, but must include information regarding the passenger locator form and must:
- inform that all passengers must complete a passenger locator form before arrival in the UK and that penalties apply for failure to comply
- include a hyperlink to gov.uk/passenger-locator-form
- advise passengers to provide their seat number on the passenger locator form, if the relevant service is one on which passengers are allocated seat numbers
4. On board the vessel, aircraft or train
The information on board the vessel, train or aircraft must be provided orally by way of an on-board announcement as scripted below. The on-board announcement must be completed in English and an officially recognised language of the country of departure.
“The following is a public health message on behalf of the UK’s public health agencies.
Before entering the UK, you must complete a passenger locator form online, regardless of where you are arriving from. You must also self-isolate for the first 14 days after you arrive, unless you are in an exempt category. This is to protect yourself and others.
Visit GOV.UK for more information.
The symptoms of coronavirus are a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell. If you experience any of these symptoms, however mild, you are advised to make yourself known to the crew.
Simple measures you can take to help protect yourself and family are:
- wash your hands
- avoid touching your face with your hands
- catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue and dispose of it immediately
Operators must keep records of the steps taken to provide the required information in the required manner to passengers. These records may be requested by the Civil Aviation Authority, the Office for Rail and Road or the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Regulators have the power to audit records of compliance with the new requirements from 30 October. Penalties of £4000 apply for failing to provide the required information to a passenger. A separate offence for failure to keep records also applies.
Operators will not be required to ensure the required information is provided to passengers who arrive in England during an exemption period.
The requirement to ensure that passengers are provided with information at the booking and check-in stages also does not apply if the booking is made, or the check-in takes place, during an exemption period.
Statements made by the Secretary of State for Transport which start or end an exemption period will be placed on this page.
There is no exemption period currently in place.
On 8 October 2020, amended regulations were laid requiring transport operators to ensure that passengers travelling to England from outside the common travel area are provided with information about these matters throughout the passenger journey. These regulations come into force on 30 October.
These regulations apply to commercial transport services on which passengers travel to England from outside the common travel area on a vessel, aircraft or train.
The regulations apply to England only. They cover international commercial transport services by sea, air or rail.