How will Portugal’s removal from Covid ‘green list’ affect you? | Travel & leisure

Portugal’s removal from the green list of countries has been described as a disaster for the travel industry. The country had been seen as the one ray of sunshine for UK holidaymakers, and the decision will be a serious blow to the country’s tourism industry. It’s all the more baffling as it comes less than a week since 15,000 British football fans were allowed to travel to Porto to watch the Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City.

I am due to fly back from Portugal shortly, what does this mean?

Portugal will shortly become an amber-list country – the change will reportedly take place at 4am on Tuesday – meaning that anyone arriving back in England after the deadline, expected to be announced on Thursday night, has to take a negative pre-departure Covid test. They will also have to pre-book two lab-based PCR tests before they get on the flight home.

Once home, they will have to isolate for 10 days, and take those PCR tests on days two and eight. There is also the option to use the test-to-release system on day five, which in reality allows users to leave quarantine on day seven at the earliest.

The cost of the new extra tests required for a family of four will easily top £1,000.

If you can get back into the UK before the country moves to amber, then you only have to take a PCR test on day two, and you don’t need to quarantine.

I’m due to travel to Portugal next week – can I still go?

There is nothing to stop you going, provided you are willing to comply with the extra testing regime on your return. Most of the flights should continue to operate.

If the Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to Portugal then you could still go, but most travel insurance policies would be invalidated. A few insurers will provide cover but you may have to buy a new policy.

I have booked a package trip – will I be refunded?

Only if the Foreign Office bans non-essential travel, at which point the tour operator would have to cancel your holiday and you can ask for a full refund. If the country is simply moved to the amber list, tour operators would not be required to cancel. In reality, many tour firms would be likely to offer to move the holiday (again) but they are not required to by law.

Travellers who unilaterally decided to cancel would lose their money – according to their booking’s terms and conditions.

I have booked my own accommodation and fights – will I be refunded?

Sadly, most providers will be under no obligation to refund you. The airlines were mostly offering fee-free changes to encourage people to book, so dig out your booking to check the terms.

Many hotel sites such as offer the chance to cancel until 24 hours before arrival, but those with non-refundable bookings have lost their money.

Airbnb hosts set their own cancellation policies – meaning some people will lose all or half of their reservation’s cost – depending on the terms. Airbnb’s service charges are generally not refundable.