With the guidelines and rules changing so frequently around Coronavirus, many people are confused as to what we can and can’t do.
Some people find travel especially confusing because we are allowed to travel but only under accepted circumstances.
Some people are worried whether travelling is safe, or its better to find alternative methods to complete what they need. for instance many companies are continuing with remote working or working from home.
This article will potray my experience of travelling and using a hotel during the pandemic.
Firstly, it is worth noting that I am travelling in order to attend university. The contract for my housing hasn’t started yet which is why I needed a hotel. This does not break any laws and is within the government guidelines. I booked the hotel online. The first page had information about Corona Virus’
‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update Check out the latest booking information, FAQ’s, (to) find out more about’ The hotel
I selected my preferred location and check in dates into the search bar in order to find a hotel and ared banner appeared above the results saying
“Leisure stays at hotels in England are not allowed until at least 17th May 2021. To comply with the UK Government’s National Lockdown restrictions, this hotel is open for customers who have to travel for work purposes and other legal exemptions. Please only book to stay if your stay complies with the exemptions allowed.”
This provided links to the government website in which customers could check their eligibility. These include
“These venues [Self-contained holiday accommodation] must only provide accommodation for a person who:
- is unable to return to their main residence
- uses it as their main residence
- needs it while moving house
- needs it to attend a funeral, linked commemorative event or following a bereavement of a close family member or friend
- is isolating themselves from others as required by law
- is an elite athlete (or their coach or parent) and needs it for training or competition
- needs it for work purposes, or to provide voluntary or charitable service
- is homeless
- needs it to attend education or training
- needs it to visit a person who is dying
- needs it to care for a vulnerable person or seek respite from doing so, or needs to provide care or assistance to a disabled person staying in the same accommodation
- needs it to attend a medical appointment or treatment
- needs it as a parent for the purposes of access to a child where the child does not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents
They can also open:
- to enable voting, including in an overseas election
- to operate blood donation sessions and food banks
- to provide support services to the homeless
- as a women’s refuge or a vulnerable person’s refuge
- for any purpose requested by the Secretary of State, or a local authority
During the booking process the website asks whether your stay is for business or leisure. On seeing this I wondered whether this was a way of catching out people who intended to try to have a sneaky holiday. As I am using the hotel for university, I clicked business.
The same day I made the booking, I received a phone call from the Hotel, asking me the purpose of my stay, and that they were asking in accordance with the government guidelines. Upon hearing my reason, they were okay with it and wished me a good day.
When I arrived at the train station, I could see everyone was wearing masks. It is worth noting that it wasn’t particularly busy, however I did travel in the evening, after the typical rush hours.
There were signs all around that read “you must wear a face covering at our stations and on our trains, unless exempt £2,000 fine, rising to £6,400 for repeated non-compliance”
This potage continued on the train, as can be seen below.
There were stickers on the floor to show two-meter gaps. The distance people should leave between each other in order to prevent the virus spreading.
From what I could see, people were respecting the rules, keeping their distance from each other and wearing masks for the most part. I did notice that there weren’t as many sanitation stations around as previously, so I wondered whether the railways were hoping that travellers brought their own sanitizer.
I had my mask on for the whole trip and kept it on in the hotel. I arrived late in the evening, upon arrival I saw guests bringing back food for dinner, they were curtious we kept our distance from each other. I then went to the reception desk to check in, where they had a large clear screen separating employees from customers. The hotel also had signage asking customers to be respectful and wear masks.
I was curious to see the hotel room and wondered how they would go about cleaning it. As I walked into the room, I could smell cleaning products which was a re-assuring sign. On a surface level the room looked clean and tidy. I checked the bedding, bin and bathroom just in case, everything appeared newly changed and hygienic.
I stayed for two nights, on the second day, housekeeping knocked on my door and asked if I would like the room cleaned, as I was leaving within the hour I asked if she wouldnt mind waiting until then, but it was a reassuring sign to know the cleaning was daily.
After my visit in the hotel, I packed my bag and headed down to reception to check out. All I had to do was say my name, the room I stayed in and hand back the key card.
Travelling home on the train was slightly different than the journey there. I travelled back on a Friday evening, so the train was filled with more people than my evening trip there, some had finished work, others were travelling to London to take full advantage of facilities re-opening. As a result, it was harder to keep more than 2 meters between individuals, but still manageable. If the same amount of people were on the train, pre-covid, you would have thought you had a pretty empty cart.
Anyone who decides to travel should do so under gouvernment guidelines and take all the advised precautions. In my experience, there was minimal interaction and when there was, it was necesarry in order either move through the station, such as an employee checking my ticket, or providing me access to the room I had booked by sliding my keycard to me. Overall, I would say I had a positive experience travelling and booking a hotel.