Bosses at Brittany Ferries have urged holiday makers not to head to ports in France after the country was added to the quarantine list last night.
Ferry chiefs admitted that the announcement on France was ‘bad news’ but said since quarantine was imposed on Spain last month, only one in five travellers has amended or cancelled their travel plans and the firm has continued to run services connecting Portsmouth and Plymouth with Santander and Bilbao.
Chief executive Christophe Mathieu said: ‘Imposing quarantine from those arriving from France is of course bad news for Brittany Ferries and passengers.
‘However, after six months of the Covid crisis it appears that many of our predominantly-British customers are determined to have their summer holiday abroad.
‘Of course, we are all better informed about the crisis than we were in May or June and appreciate both the risks of infection and the measures we must take to protect ourselves and others.
‘Social distancing, mask wearing and regular hand washing are now habits that we have started to adopt as a routine, whether on board Brittany Ferries’ ships, at home or in a holiday destination. Perhaps this goes some way to explaining their determination to get away.’
France’s secretary of state for European affairs said the UK decision would lead to ‘reciprocal measures’ across the Channel.
Clement Beaune tweeted: ‘A British decision which we regret and which will lead to reciprocal measures, all in hoping for a return for normal as soon as possible.’
The Foreign Office updated its advice to warn against all but essential travel to the country because of the coronavirus risk.
The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba have also been added to the quarantine list from 4am on Saturday.
Other countries already on the quarantine list include Andorra, The Bahamas, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Brittany Ferries previously expected to carry around 240,000 passengers this summer, compared with around 780,000 for a normal year, but, after last night’s news, the number is expected to drop further.
The company has warned of potential changes to schedules at the end of the summer, if forward demand falls to levels that means services become unsustainable