Britons will soon go on holiday again. Hotel and B&B owners tell guests to expect strict rules around face masks, eating areas, and social distancing – but vaccines won’t be mandatory

People sit in deckchairs on the beach as they enjoy the warm weather on the seafront on July 30, 2014 in Weymouth, England.
People sit in deckchairs on the beach as they enjoy the warm weather on the seafront on July 30, 2014 in Weymouth, England.

  • Hotels, B&Bs and holiday parks in the UK told Insider how they’re preparing for guests this summer.
  • Over 27.6 million Brits have had at least one shot but hotel owners said this won’t be mandatory.
  • Holiday parks will be opening April 12, while hotels and B&Bs will accept guests from May 17.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The holiday season is nearly upon us. But there’s speculation about whether people in the UK will be able to travel abroad due to the increased worry of coronavirus variants spreading and cases rising.

This uncertainty, along with COVID-19 restrictions, is turning more people towards domestic holidays to visit the British coastline, country parks and smaller towns and cities.

In accordance with UK government guidelines, hotels, bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and other shared accommodation in England are allowed to open on May 17. This is the same date that international travel can continue.

While self-contained accommodation, which requires no shared facilities between guests, can reopen on April 12.

Insider spoke to a range of hotels, holiday parks and B&Bs, which are preparing for guests to come back and how their facilities will be run differently.

Vaccines won’t be mandatory

A plane passes over the Travelodge Hotel at Heathrow.
A plane passes over the Travelodge Hotel at Heathrow.

So far, more than 30 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of the vaccine but most owners said they won’t make this a requirement for guests.

Travelodge, an independent UK chain hotel, which has more than 570 hotels across the UK, currently only allows keyworkers and those who need to travel for work to stay in its hotels, a spokesperson told Insider.

When asked if Travelodge will make the vaccine mandatory for guests, the spokesperson said: “We will continue to stringently follow government guidelines and policy in regards to operating in the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Currently, the government does not require hotel guests to be vaccinated.

The situation is similar in holiday parks. Centre Parcs, which has five short-break holiday villages across the UK, will open on April 12 and have the same COVID-19 safety measures it had in place last year, spokesperson Simon Kay told Insider.

“In line with government guidelines we will not be requiring guests to have been vaccinated,” he said.

Haven Holidays, another chain of holiday parks in the UK, told Insider it’s planning to reopen all of its locations on April 12. A company spokesperson said the government haven’t sent Haven any details about COVID-19 passports and declined to comment on the implementation of them.

Hazelwood Farm
Hazelwood Farm

Hazelwood Farm B&B in York, in northern England, will also be carrying on with coronavirus measures. The owner, Annette McAnespie described making the vaccine mandatory as a “Catch 22 situation” and could be “construed as discriminatory.”

“I am lucky in that most of my gorgeous guests are retirement age so the stats are that most of them would have chosen to have had the vaccine and would have had their first jab, if not their second one too, by the time I can reopen,” McAnespie said.

At the other end of the country, the Penellen B&B, based in Cornwall – a popular holiday destination in south-west England – will open on May 17th with COVID-19 practices that were in place last year.

Paul and Barbara Goldingay, owners of The Penellen, told Insider that they are not making the vaccine mandatory because it would be too difficult to police.

Face masks stay on and social distancing remains

Haven Holidays' employee
Haven Holidays’ employee

Travelodge said, like many other chain hotels, its safety measures include wearing face masks indoors, social distancing, contactless payment and checkout, and no housekeeping teams in guests’ rooms during their stay.

The Penellen and Hazelwood Farm’s coronavirus measures both include wearing face masks.

McAnespie is using two out of the three rooms available on Hazelwood Farm. She plans to steam-clean the curtains and remove cushions from the bedrooms as part of the B&B’s coronavirus policy. She told Insider she hopes to see the back of restrictions in September.

Center Parcs has had a surge in bookings recently, especially from the summer onwards, according to Kay.

COVID-19 safety measures in its holiday parks include fewer guests on-site, wearing face masks where necessary, social distancing in all areas including on beaches and a frequent and improved cleaning regime in the villages.

Haven Holidays, which owns 40 parks across the UK, will bring back the Clean and Safe Charter that it introduced in July. This includes a contactless check-in process, social-distancing measures in all public places, and cleaning teams in the parks.

Eating and dining in accommodation

Haven Holidays
Haven Holidays

Guests staying in Travelodge hotels won’t be able to dine in the restaurants or bars until June 21, when the rest of hospitality is allowed to open, per the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Hazelwood Farm B&B in York isn’t offering its usual breakfast buffet. McAnespie told Insider guests’ cold breakfast orders will be taken the evening before and hot breakfast orders will be taken the same morning with the waitress, Nettie, standing at a distance.

She said the B&B will try to stagger breakfast times for the three rooms as there are only two tables in the dining room with the option to also sit outside. Continental breakfast can also be delivered to the room, as well as any other takeaways from local pubs in the area, McAnespie added.

The Penellen said it will also be serving guests at the table, rather than offering a buffet service.

Holidays parks such as Center Parcs and Haven Holidays offer self-catered accommodation so guests can cook for themselves.

Other restrictions in place

Center Parc Bispinger Heide is written on a sign in front of the park area
Center Parc Bispinger Heide is written on a sign in front of the park area

Center Parcs’ Book with Confidence guarantee offers guests free cancellation and a full refund within six weeks of the arrival date, if they decide to no longer go on holiday to the village. They can also change the dates of their stay.

“It is clear that people want reassurance about the flexibility to cancel or change dates,” said Kay.

As part of Haven’s Caravan Cleanliness Guarantee, a specialist team member checks each holiday home after its been disinfected using virus-killing products and seals up the door. Guests are entitled to a full refund if the holiday home isn’t cleaned to its standards, the company said in a statement to Insider.

Similar to Center Parcs, the company’s Coronavirus Book with Confidence Guarantee means guests can cancel their booking between three and 28 days prior to arrival at no cost and be fully refunded, Haven said.

Paul and Barbara from The Penellen said the majority of bookings for this year are rescheduled from last year.

Their “main worry is people from the UK going on holiday overseas and then returning carrying a new variant,” they said.

“In our opinion, all borders should be closed for non-essential travel for the time being,” they added.

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Uber will pay its 70,000 UK-based drivers minimum wage and benefits following a major Supreme Court defeat

uber driver prop 22
Rideshare driver Teresa Mercado raises her fist in support as app based gig workers held a driving demonstration with 60-70 vehicles blocking Spring Street in front of Los Angeles City Hall urging voters to vote no on Proposition 22 on Oct. 8, 2020.

  • Uber is reclassifying its UK-based drivers as “workers,” it said in a regulatory filing Tuesday.
  • The move requires Uber to follow minimum wage, paid vacation, and other labor laws.
  • Uber strongly opposes efforts to reclassify its drivers, but pivoted in the UK after a legal defeat.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Uber announced Tuesday it will reclassify drivers in the United Kingdom as “workers,” guaranteeing them minimum wage, paid vacation, pensions, and additional protection under the country’s labor laws.

In a statement, Uber told Insider the move will impact more than 70,000 drivers, and follows a recent unanimous Supreme Court decision that determined drivers should be classified as workers.

Uber initially downplayed the ruling, saying it “focussed on a small number of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016,” though shares of Uber dropped as much as 2% following the ruling.

With Tuesday’s announcement, Uber has opted to reclassify all UK drivers rather than fight legal battles with individual drivers about whether the court’s ruling would apply to them.

“Uber is just one part of a larger private-hire industry, so we hope that all other operators will join us in improving the quality of work for these important workers who are an essential part of our everyday lives,” Jamie Heywood, the regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, told Insider in a statement.

The move is a major shift for Uber, which has aggressively fought rulings by courts and regulators in the US that have determined drivers to be employees as opposed to contractors. In California, Uber spent at least $30 million persuading voters to pass Proposition 22, a law it co-authored that carved out an exemption from state labor laws to allow rideshare and food delivery drivers to be treated as contractors.

Unlike American law, which defines workers as employees or contractors, UK law has an additional “worker” category, which entitles workers to receive the minimum wage, paid vacation, rest breaks, and protections against illegal discrimination, retaliation for whistleblowing, and wage theft. That classification falls short of guaranteeing benefits like parental leave and severance to which full employees are entitled.

Uber said the UK minimum wage, which is slightly above $12, will serve as an “earnings floor, not an earnings ceiling” after accounting for roughly 62 cents in per-mile expenses, but that drivers won’t be paid for the time they spend waiting for a ride – which some researchers have found accounts for as much as 33% of drivers’ work.

Uber also said it will pay drivers around 12% of their earnings as vacation pay every two weeks and enroll them in a pension plan to which Uber will also contribute.

Labor advocates voiced their support for the move and the court ruling that proceeded it.

“Dear America … see what happens when a government lays it down? Is Uber leaving? No, they’re actually doing right by their workforce in the UK. Our drivers deserve this too. Why would an American company short change American workers? Because we let them!” tweeted California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the author of AB-5, the state labor law that Uber sought an exemption from by pushing Prop 22.

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Meghan Markle told Oprah that her first job was working at a frozen yogurt store, Humphrey Yogart, in LA when she was 13

meghan markle oprah interview
Meghan Markle sits down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey on March 7.

  • Meghan Markle told Oprah her first job was serving frozen yogurt at Humphrey Yogart in LA.
  • She met her idol Yasmine Bleeth, who starred as a lifeguard on “Baywatch,” while working there.
  • Markle was 13 at the time. Her old boss said she was outgoing and popular with customers.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Meghan Markle’s first job was serving frozen yogurt at a store in LA when she was 13, she told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that aired on Sunday.

In the interview with Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, the Duchess of Sussex spoke about contemplating suicide after getting married, how members of the royal family had conversations about her son Archie’s skin tone, and how Kate Middleton made her cry before her wedding.

In another portion of the interview, Markle briefly mentioned the yogurt store she worked at in Sherman Oaks, California. 

Markle, who announced she was stepping back from the royal family with Harry in January 2020, told Winfrey: “My first job was when I was 13, at a frozen yogurt shop called Humphrey Yogart.”

“I’ve always worked. I’ve always valued independence,” she added.

She didn’t go into any further details in the interview. It’s unclear exactly when Meghan worked at Humphrey Yogart, but she would have been there sometime in 1994.

Markle’s employment at the shop was already known about. According to a report in The Guardian, when Markle was taking the bins out in the parking lot of the yogurt shop, she met her celebrity idol, Yasmine Bleeth, who starred as lifeguard Caroline Holden on “Baywatch.”

Markle blurted out “Oh my God, I loved you in that Soft & Dri commercial,” to which Bleeth answered, “Okay, thank you!,” The Mirror reported in 2017

Bleeth then asked for her name and shook her hand. Markle said: “That moment with Yasmine is exactly what I base every interaction with fans on,” per the Guardian.

Markle’s former boss Paula Sheftel told the Sunday Mirror that Markle didn’t earn much, but she was well-liked by the shop’s customers.

“She earned minimum wage and was very popular with customers. She had to prove she had an outgoing personality and would work well with staff,” Sheftel told the Mirror.

Markle has come a long way since then. After landing various small roles, including appearing as a suitcase girl on the game show “Deal or No Deal,” the actress got her big break on “Suits.” 

Markle married Harry on May 19, 2018 and they had their first child together one year later.

During the Sunday interview, the couple also announced that their second child, due this summer, would be a girl. They haven’t announced an expected due date.

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As COVID-19 infections surge out of control in Los Angeles County, officials are now investigating the potential spread of a new, more contagious strain

hospital nurse los angeles covid coronavirus california
Michelle Goldson, RN works inside the ICU at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital on December 17, 2020 in Los Angeles.

  • Los Angeles County is now testing for a new and more transmissible strain of the coronavirus, the Los Angeles Times reported. 
  • The county has seen a massive surge in cases in recent weeks. 
  • The new strain was first discovered in the UK. Experts said there hasn’t been any indication that the new strain could cause more severe illness. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As coronavirus cases surge in Los Angeles County, officials are now working to test samples for the new and more transmissible strain of coronavirus, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

On Thursday, the county saw over 13,600 new cases and set a record for new deaths with 148 confirmed

Earlier this week, a new strain of the coronavirus was discovered in the United Kingdom.

The new strain could be as much as 70% more transmissible, the UK’s health minister Matt Hancock said. 

Public health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have said it’s likely that the new strain is already in the US. 

“I would not be surprised if it’s already here,” Fauci said in an interview with PBS NewsHour. “When we start to look for it, we’re going to find it.”

However, some experts said there is no indication the new strain causes more severe disease or is more deadly. 

Barbara Ferrer, LA County public health director said a laboratory began gene sequencing to test virus samples, but results won’t be available for around a week. 

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said the new variant could factor into why there’s been such a high spread of the virus. Many experts and public health officials have said that the spread is in part mostly due to families defying public health guidelines to meet up during the holidays. 

“This happened devastatingly quickly,” Garcetti told the Times. “Everybody I talked to said this acceleration was beyond any model and any expectation, so then people say ‘What broke down?’ and I’ve got to think it’s partly the strain that was out there.”

The Times also reported that the LA County Public Health Department also sent out a memo on Thursday to aks labs to look over recent data from positive coronavirus tests to look out for a specific gene detection pattern. 

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced that travelers flying to the US from the UK will have to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of their flight. They stopped short of an outright ban on travel, as some other countries have. 

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British Airways and Delta Airlines agree to test passengers heading for New York state

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-900neo
A Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-900neo.

  • Three airlines are now requiring negative COVID-19 tests for passengers heading to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport from the United Kingdom. 
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked British Airways, Delta Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic to implement the measures following news of a new and potentially more transmissible variant of the novel coronavirus. 
  • The new strain could be as much a 70% more transmissible, Matt Hancock, the UK’s health minister said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

British Airways, Delta Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic said they would start requiring travelers heading to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to test negative for COVID-19 prior to boarding. 

The decision comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked several airlines to require travelers heading to the airport from the United Kingdom to be tested following news on a new strain of the novel coronavirus. 

A Delta spokesperson told Business Insider: “Customers will be required to take a LAMP or PCR test up to 72 hours prior to departure adding another layer of safety when they travel.”

The spokesperson said Delta will be working closely with Cuomo’s office in the following days “on the implementation of our plans as they specifically relate to our flights from London Heathrow to New York-JFK.”

British Airways did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication. 

Cuomo’s request comes as officials in the UK discovered a new and potentially more transmissible strain of the coronavirus. 

The new strain could be as much a 70% more transmissible, Matt Hancock, the UK’s health minister said. 

The country has put millions of people under lockdown to help curb the spread. Additionally, countries including France and Germany have stopped travel from the UK.

Read the original article on Business Insider