During my time as a travel agent, I have listened to and taken advice from the government – and Foreign Office in particular – and followed their advice at all times when advising my clients.
Yet Covid has thrown a few curve balls our way in the last few months, and drawn into question things that we agents had always believed to be written in stone.
On 25 July, it was announced Spain would be withdrawn from the green list. I was booked to fly there the following week and this was an "essential trip". I was thrown into a quandary: should I go? What about insurance, and of course, quarantine?
To my surprise, my insurance company assured me that in fact I was covered for all but Covid. I was taken aback as all the media advice around this was negative, and certainly the government seemed to want you to believe that your insurance would be immediately invalidated too.
I decided since I was covered (for all but Covid) I would take the quarantine on the chin and do my 14 days in solitary on my return on 14 August.
Note the date – my flight home coincided with the mad rush back from France and Croatia. Why would I, on an empty plane, at an empty airport, be more of a threat than the people crammed on every spare aircraft seat, ferry or train back to the UK?
These travellers rushed home to beat the deadline and carried on with their lives regardless of the possible risk they took with them.
It simply does not make sense.
Both my flights were 25% full – perhaps 45 people maximum. So social distancing was not an issue and the airport at Malaga well run and practically empty.
There were temperature checks on arrival and careful checking of the QR forms. Passengers who were not admonished on the aircraft by easyJet crew were stopped and told to put their masks on. In Spain it is enforceable by law and is adhered to stringently.
On my return, it was a cursory glance at the form and then home to 14 days isolation.
Now at the end of my 14 days, I have had no contact from anyone, no letters and no calls.
Meanwhile, a friend’s daughter flew in from New York this week, no form filled in, no checks, straight through Heathrow and on to London – where she is self isolating.
Why is none of this not being taken seriously by the UK authorities? If you do not police systems, then people won’t abide by them. No wonder other countries look on in confusion as to what we are doing in the UK.
If you’re going to apply measures that destroy my wonderful Industry, make my colleagues redundant, and ruin established businesses, then for goodness sake have them make sense and be take them seriously.