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Lockdown easing in England delayed by four weeks - your refund rights for group holidays, events and more

Lockdown easing in England delayed by four weeks - your refund rights for group holidays, events and more

The easing of most lockdown rules in England has been delayed until 19 July amid concern about rising coronavirus cases, though limits on guest numbers at weddings will be lifted on 21 June. We've the latest below on the lockdown rules, plus your rights to a refund for holidays and events which may be cancelled in the wake of today's announcement.

The Government had hoped to remove all legal restrictions on social contact from 21 June, meaning there would be no limits on the number of people allowed in your home, the number of households who can share holiday accomodation and the number of customers who can attend concerts, theatres, pubs and nightclubs. 

But the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that due to concerns over the new Delta variant of coronavirus, the current lockdown rules in England will remain largely unchanged until 19 July - though the data will be reviewed again on 28 June in case risks have reduced. As a result, gatherings will remain limited - to no more than six people from any number of households or two households of any size indoors, and no more than 30 people outdoors. People are also asked to continue to work from home if possible. 

However there are a limited number of restrictions that will ease from 21 June, including those for weddings and receptions, commemorative events, large event pilots, care home visits and domestic residential visits for children. You can see full details on the rules in England on the Gov.uk website. For full info on coronavirus restrictions and your cancellation and refund rights, see our Coronavirus Life-in-Lockdown Help guide.

Restrictions still apply to UK holidays for larger groups - your rights

The existing rules on indoor gatherings will continue to apply to stays in holiday accomodation in the UK - so if you've booked a trip prior to 19 July for a group of more than six people from any number of households, or a larger group from more than two households, you'll have to change your plans.

In this situation, speak to your holiday or accomodation provider. Guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) suggests you should be able to insist on a refund, as if you were to use the booking as planned you'd break the law, and the CMA says in general terms you should be due a refund if a booking can't go ahead as planned due to a legal restriction. It's not completely clear-cut though and there are no guarantees.

In practice, some holiday firms we've spoken to have already confirmed they will offer refunds - Butlins and Haven have told us you can cancel and get a full refund if you give at least three days' notice, while Centerparcs has said if your booking is affected you should get in touch to discuss your options. If you've a booking which is affected and have been refused a refund, let us know at news@moneysavingexpert.com

Another option would be to try your travel insurer if you can't get a refund directly from your accommodation provider, but this will likely depend on your policy. See more in our UK Travel Insurance guide. 

Booked a ticket for a concert or other event? You should get a refund

Today's news will mean some who had event tickets booked between 21 June and 19 July now won't be able to attend due to ongoing restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather - though some pilots of larger events such as Euro 2020 will still go ahead.

If you paid for a ticket for an event which now has to be cancelled, you should usually be able to get a refund, though it's always worth double-checking the terms and conditions. For example, Ticketmaster says customers will be able to get a full monetary refund if an event is cancelled due to coronavirus. However, it's less certain if you'll get booking and delivery fees refunded too, so check.

If you'll incur 'consequential losses' as a result of a cancelled event – for example, if you'd booked accommodation or trains to the venue separately – you can get in touch with the firms you booked with to see if they'll refund you or let you rebook to a later date, though there are sadly no guarantees. Also check whether you'd be covered by any UK travel insurance, if you have it.

For more info on your rights for cancelled and rescheduled events, see our Coronavirus Life-In-Lockdown guide.

Larger weddings CAN go ahead - though social distancing rules still apply

From 21 June, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions in England will be able to go ahead with more than 30 guests.

The number of people allowed in a Covid-secure venue will be based on how many people can be accommodated while maintaining social distancing measures. In private homes or enclosed structures in private gardens, weddings can only take place in line with social distancing guidelines, following the rule-of-six or up to two households. See full details of how the rules work on Gov.uk. 

There will also be restrictions on dancing and singing, and table service will be required meaning guests will have to remain seated, with a maximum of six per table. For more info on your rights if your wedding plans have to change due to coronavirus restrictions, see our Wedding Refund Rights guide. 

Lockdown rules are different in the rest of the UK

Today's announcement only affects the lockdown rules in England. Here's the situation in the rest of the UK:

  • In Scotland: The Scottish government has a five-level system which applies at a local and national level - you can check the level in your area using the government's postcode tool. A spokesperson for the Scottish government told us the situation in the country is continuing to be reviewed week by week, with the next update due on Monday 21 June. See the full rules in Scotland.

  • In Wales: up to three households can form an 'extended household' and mix indoors and up to 30 people can meet outdoors in a public place or private garden. The Welsh government will review its rules on Friday, 18 June. See the full rules in Wales

  • In Northern Ireland: a group of up to six people from up to two households can meet indoors, with up to 10 people allowed if one household is bigger than six people. Under-13s not counted in that total. Overnight stays are allowed; up to 15 people (including children) from no more than three households can meet outdoors, including in gardens. The next review for rules in Northern Ireland will be on Thursday (17 June). See the full rules in Northern Ireland

It's also worth noting the some areas in England are under local lockdown guidance, meaning that in addition to the England-wide rules, people living there are encouraged not to meet others indoors and to stay local, though this remains guidance and not law. These areas are Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Greater Manchester, Kirklees, Lancashire, Leicester, North Tyneside and the London Borough of Hounslow.

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