Shropshire Star

Quarantine could hit tourism, warns Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard

A Shropshire MP has called for more flexibility in the Government's quarantine laws for overseas visitors.

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Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, voiced concerns about the impact of the Government's 14-day blanket quarantine would have on the county's tourist industry.

His comments come as 40 MPs, including Ludlow MP Philip Dunne, formed a cross-party working group which is calling for a rethink on the quarantine plan.

Last week Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a two-week quarantine for everybody arriving in the UK from overseas, including British residents who travelled abroad and then returned to the UK

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But Mr Pritchard said such strict measures were unnecessary, and called for a more targeted approach focused on countries where the rate of infection was highest, measured by the so-called 'R' rate.

He said: "Tourism is vital to Shropshire, and whilst most local tourists are short-stay UK tourists, putting unnecessary barriers to those from overseas will impact on caravan parks, holiday lets, hotels and restaurants, many frequented by French, Dutch, German, American and other tourists throughout the summer.

"There was an earlier case for quarantine. There may be a case for quarantine in future. There is a case for 'targeted' quarantine for countries with a high 'R' rate.

"But the Government needs to publish scientific data to justify a 'blanket quarantine' which will cost leisure and tourism jobs."

More than 70 leading figures in the hospitality industry, including Sir Rocco Forte, chairman of the Rocco Forte hotel group, along with the owners of The Ritz, The Savoy, The Goring, Claridge's and The Dorchester hotels have signed a letter to the Home Secretary calling for a change of heart.

They wrote: “The very last thing the travel industry needs is a mandatory quarantine imposed on all arriving passengers which will deter foreign visitors from coming here, deter UK visitors from travelling abroad and, most likely, cause other countries to impose reciprocal quarantine requirements on British visitors, as France has already announced.”

The Prime Minister has hinted that the quarantine policy may be short lived, with plans for 'air-bridges' which would exempt certain countries from the regulations.