A York councillor has cancelled her holiday abroad over the expense of Covid testing – and fears of being stuck in quarantine over Christmas.
Paula Widdowson was planning a trip to Rome with her husband.
But then new travel restrictions were introduced in response to the Omicron coronavirus variant, throwing their plans into disarray.
Mrs Widdowson, a Lib Dem who represents Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Ward, and is the council’s lead on environment and climate change, told BBC radio: “Forty-eight hours ago, the government changed the rules again, so that you have to take a PCR test here.
“We then have to find somewhere – we found a hospital in Rome – where we get another PCR test to see if we can get on the plane. That’s £60 – and another PCR test when we get home within two days.
“So the PCR tests are now significantly more than the cost of the flights. Between them, it’s nearly £400 for all of those tests.
“The big change is if either of us test positive when we’re in Italy, we can be quarantined in Italy for up to 21 days, which means we sit in a hotel room until 3 January with each other and hopefully we don’t come back divorced.”
That prospect has led Mrs Widdowson to abandon Rome. “I’ve cancelled the trip and we’re off to the Lakes instead – less risky!” she told YorkMix.
A new survey by trade body UKinbound has found that 79% of tourism firms have experienced bookings being withdrawn since the new strain emerged.
Three-quarters of cancellations were for December, ruining the industry’s hopes of receiving a boost over Christmas.