HOLIDAYS may be off at home and abroad for the rest of the YEAR, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has warned.
He explained that until the entire country is vaccinated, travel restrictions are likely to remain in place.
Speaking on Sky News, he explained: "The truth is we just don’t know how the virus will respond both to the vaccines and of course how people will respond.
"I’m afraid I can’t give you a definitive, will there or will there not be the opportunity to take holidays this next year either at home or abroad."
He also warned that the vaccine rollout will affect the start date of holidays and he didn't want to "raise people's hopes".
"It is a fact that right now it is illegal to leave your home to go on holiday. At the moment that is off the cards," he said.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Shapps said travelling abroad would depend on "everybody having their vaccinations” in the UK – and potentially abroad.
When asked if travel restrictions will stay in place until everyone has had a vaccine, he said: "Yes."
More than 12 million people have had their first vaccine jab in the UK with plans for the entire country to be fully vaccinated by the end of August – meaning summer holidays may be off.
Mr Shapps added on BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "People shouldn't be booking holidays right now, not domestically not internationally.
"We don't know where we will be on the decline of cases, deaths and the vaccine.
"And not just the vaccination programme here but internationally as people will be going outside of the borders."
New restrictions announced yesterday by Health Secretary Matt Hancock have also put a pause on holidays.
The latest travel measures include an additional two Covid tests required during the mandatory 10 day quarantine, costing £210 per person.
This is in addition to a negative Covid test before departure and a Passenger Locator Form.
Also starting from Monday is the hotel quarantine scheme, which will force arrivals from high risk countries to self-isolate at one of the 16 government-mandated hotels – costing £1,750 per person.
Anyone who leaves the quarantine faces a whopping £10,000 fine and people who lie about where they have been on holiday to try and avoid the quarantine could even face a 10-year jail sentence too.
Mr Hancock has previously spoken about he has booked a family holiday in Cornwall for later this year and has touted a "Great British summer".
Jonathan Van-Tam, England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, has suggested that the more elaborate people's holiday plans were, the more likely they were to get cancelled.
Speaking at Downing Street earlier this week, he said: “The more elaborate your plans are for summer holidays, in terms of crossing borders, in terms of house mixing, given where we are now, I think you just have to say, you're stepping into making guesses about the unknown.
“We just don't have the data, it's just too early.”
Masks and social distancing could also be in place all year too.
Speaking of the nation's jab progress, Professor Neil Ferguson told Sky News last night: “It’s not going to allow us to go back to normal – certainly not until the autumn."
He added: "There will be new things we can’t predict precisely, like the waning of immunity, like new variants coming up, which means there will be some residual need to maintain some social distancing, mask wearing, probably for much of this year."
Despite the warning, UK holidays are booming with booking demand soaring.
Some families are even being put on waiting lists for holidays to Cornwall due to demand.
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