A BRIDEGROOM-to-be says he is gutted after his stag do to Benidorm was grounded by the new 14-day quarantine rules for holidaymakers returning from Spain – and the Government advising against non-essential travel to the mainland.
Robin Hurtley and more than 20 of his friends and family were due to fly out to Alicante from Manchester with Ryanair on Friday for his three-night stag do.
He said he did not yet know if they would get a refund on their flights – and tonight, when the Telegraph & Argus checked the Ryanair website, it appeared to still be possible to book flights to and from Alicante on Friday and Monday, despite the Government advice.
Mr Hurtley said he and his fellow revellers, many of whom are from Bradford, could not afford to go to Spain and then not be able to work for a fortnight while they quarantine.
The 33-year-old director of Hurtley Plumbing & Heating, based in Clifford Street, Broomfields, Bradford, was originally due to get married to Jessica Drahosz, owner of One One Aesthetics based at Dean Clough Mills, Halifax, in Barbados at the end of this year, but that has already been cancelled as she is due to give birth in October.
Mr Hurtley, who lives in Halifax, said: “I’m just gutted. It has taken a lot of organising. We are in limbo.
“It’s just such short notice. I know it’s difficult with the virus scenario and there are people worse off than me that will already be there in Spain.
“I’m due to site manage a job when I was due to come back from my stag do anyway.
The majority of the lads can’t afford to go away and not be able to go to work for two weeks when they come back
“I don’t have a clue what we are going to do now. I can’t afford to go into quarantine now.
“There is a group chat among the lads of different ideas of stag dos we could do instead. Not sure what we could do. We have looked into Dublin but it will cost a lot of money.
“We are just going to see if we can get hold of Ryanair. We are looking into refunds. We are looking about going to the local for one night.
“People in the stag party have changed their money into Euros and everything.
Quite a few of the lads on the stag do are from Wibsey, Buttershaw and Wyke, so we might have the stag do over that way
This afternoon it appeared possible to still book a seat on his flight, despite the advice against all non-essential travel
Ryanair was unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, Yeadon-based airline Jet2 today said it was running flights to Spain from Leeds Bradford Airport as normal, but was reviewing options for customers flying to the mainland.
It was still running its scheduled programme of flights to and from mainland Spain, the Balearics and the Canaries, but reviewing options for customers due to travel to Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia.
A Jet2 spokesperson said: “Following the latest Government advice regarding travel to the UK from Spain, we are advising customers to arrive for their flights as normal as we are continuing to operate our scheduled programme to and from mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
“We are still operating flights and holidays to four destinations in mainland Spain (Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia), which are open and are located away from areas which have been impacted by increased cases of Covid-19.
“In light of the updated advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), we are in the process of reviewing options for customers due to travel to these four destinations.
“We are also continuing to operate flights and holidays to our destinations in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands as scheduled. As always, we advise customers to purchase appropriate travel insurance before travelling.
“This is a fast-moving situation, which we will continue to monitor very closely.”
Leeds Bradford Airport was contacted for comment.
What is the new advice on travel to Spain and am I affected?
The UK has removed Spain from its list of safe countries to travel to after fears were raised that the country was experiencing a second wave of coronavirus infections, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is now advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.
Only the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa) and Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera) are exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel.
Quarantine measures came into effect from midnight on Saturday, meaning that from today all returning travellers will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
The quarantine measures apply to travellers returning from mainland Spain – and also the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, including Mallorca and Ibiza, despite these having lower infection rates.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said it is “likely” that travel insurance will remain in place for holidaymakers already in Spain until they return home.
However, those attempting to travel to countries against FCO advice would invalidate their travel insurance.
The ABI said people who booked a trip or took out travel insurance after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic may not be covered for travel disruption or cancellation.
In either circumstance, travellers should check with their insurer.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said no worker following quarantine guidance should be penalised by employers, including by being put onto sick pay.
He said that if someone is following the law in relation to quarantine and self-isolating, “they can’t have penalties taken against them”.
Labour wants the Government to do more to help quarantining employees.
The conciliation service Acas has advised employees returning from Spain to talk to their employer as soon as possible.
It said unless employees are actually ill, they are unlikely to qualify for statutory sick pay – although an employer could still offer to pay this if it wanted to.
If they have previously been furloughed, they could agree to a further period of furlough to cover the isolation period. Or they could agree a further period of annual leave, a period of unpaid leave or a mix of the two.