For owners

Coronavirus FAQ

It has been an unprecedented few months and we’re sure many of you have questions about bookings – both current and future. While the situation is changing, we will continue to update our FAQ to support you.

Can I take bookings for UK stays?

Government lockdowns, alert levels, advice, restrictions and regulations differ across the UK. You should familiarise yourself with any restrictions that apply to your location, as well as the different government health measures that may impact your guests. Overnight stays for the purposes of a holiday are not permitted anywhere in the UK at present.

The UK government has outlined the four conditions that need to be met for the continued easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

The relaxation will be split into four phases, with the first phase having two parts. Full details of the governments phased plan (for England) are available here.

Can guests still go on a UK holiday?  

The wellbeing of our guests and owners is the most important thing to us. Where guests are travelling from, and where they are staying and when will all determine whether they can take their holiday as planned. In England, you can find the latest advice and restrictions here.

The UK government has outlined the four conditions that need to be met for the continued easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

The relaxation will be split into four phases, with the first phase having two parts. Full details of the governments phased plan (for England) are available here.

The specific areas that relate to Sawday’s guests and owners are:

Stage One (8 March)

  • two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include “a coffee on a bench” or a picnic
  • weddings attended by up to six people can take place in any circumstances
  • rules still mean you should stay home and only leave work for essentials, work, exercise or medical appointments
  • no household mixing indoors or outdoors unless in a support or childcare bubble
  • non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues closed
  • pubs and restaurants closed, but takeaway food permitted
  • overnight stays away from home for the purpose of a holiday are not allowed.

Stage One (29 March)

  • people will be allowed to meet outside within the “rule of six” or with one other household. This will include private gardens
  • the stay at home law will end, but people are encouraged to stay local as much as possible.

Stage Two (12 April)

  • all shops allowed to open
  • restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors, including alcohol
  • gyms and spas can open for individuals and households
  • UK domestic holidays away from home will be permitted, including self-catering and camping stays for members of the same household
  • weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place.

Stage Three (no earlier than 17 May)

  • people can meet in groups of 30 outdoors
  • six people, or two households, can meet indoors
  • pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
  • hotels, hostels and B&Bs can re-open
  • international travel can resume (subject to review).

Stage Four (no earlier than 21 June)

  • all legal limits on social contact to be lifted
  • no legal limits on the number of people who can attend life events, including weddings and funerals.

The latest review of Wales lockdown rules means that from 27 March

  • stay local restrictions will be lifted
  • self-contained accommodation can re-open
  • 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors, socially distanced.

Provided cases remain low, the following things will be permitted:

12 April

  • travel permitted into and out of Wales from the rest of the UK and Common Travel Area
  • all remaining non-essential retail and close contact services, like beauty salons, allowed to reopen.

26 April

  • outdoor hospitality reopening, including cafes, pubs and restaurants.

3 May

  • organised outdoor activities permitted for up to 30 people
  • outdoor wedding receptions attended by no more than 30 people.

10 May

  • people will be allowed to form extended households again, allowing two households to meet and have contact indoors
  • Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen. Individual and one-to-one training will be allowed, but not exercise classes

The Welsh administration has said that after 17 May it would consider enabling indoor hospitality and remaining visitor accommodation to reopen in advance of the Spring Bank Holiday on 31 May.

The Scottish government has published its own Strategic Framework update, which you can find here. Like England, the Scottish framework will follow phased dates. The specific areas that relate to Sawday’s guests and owners are:

2 April

  • lifting the ‘Stay at Home’ requirement and replacing it with a ‘Stay Local’ message (retaining the current, local authority-based travel restrictions for at least a three-week period)

5 April – Assuming that all goes well, the next significant milestone for easing restrictions will be 5 April, when the plan is to ease a wider range of current restrictions in level 4 areas (some of these activities/settings are already permitted/open in Level 3 island communities) including:

  • reopening of non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail
  • extending the list of retail permitted
  • the prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.

26 April – dependent on progress of the vaccination programme. This will likely include the following easings (some of these activities/settings are already permitted/open in Level 3 island communities)

  • extending outdoor socialising to permit up to 6 people from up to 3 households to gather
  • allowing 12-17 year olds to meet outdoors in groups of 6 from up to 6 households
  • travel within all of mainland Scotland permitted (subject to other restrictions that remain in place)
  • remaining shops can reopen and mobile close contact services can resume
  • gyms and swimming pools can reopen for individual exercise
  • tourist accommodation to reopen (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering)
  • work in people’s homes to resume
  • weddings and funerals for up to 50 (including wakes and receptions with no alcohol permitted)
  • libraries, museums, galleries re-open
  • outdoor hospitality to open till 10pm with alcohol permitted. Indoor hospitality permitted without alcohol and closing at 8pm
  • social mixing in indoor public places will be subject to current maximum of 4 people from up to 2 households
  • the prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.

17 May – the Scottish administration hopes to introduce the following easings:

  • re-introducing in-home socialising for up to 4 people from up to 2 households
  • further re-opening of hospitality: bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes can stay open until 10.30pm indoors with alcohol permitted and 2 hour time-limited slots and until 10pm outdoors with alcohol permitted
  • cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can re-open subject to capacity constraints
  • small scale indoor and outdoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints (to be confirmed following stakeholder engagement)
  • non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors

Early June – the Scottish first minister won’t give specific dates beyond May, but the following has been given as a broad sense of likely timings by this time:

  • up to 6 people from up to 3 households can socialise indoors in a home or public place
  • up to 8 people from 3 households can socialise outdoors
  • 8 12-17 year olds can meet socially from 8 households outdoors
  • hospitality can remain open until 11pm
  • attendance at events can increase, subject to capacity constraints
  • increased numbers at life events and places of worship subject to stakeholder engagement
  • casinos, funfairs and soft play can open, subject to capacity constraints

From end of June

  • up to 6 people from up to 3 households can socialise indoors in a home or public place
  • events increase numbers subject to capacity constraints
  • increased numbers at life events and places of worship subject to stakeholder engagement.

Northern Ireland has extended its lockdown until 12 April.

We have recommended that guests get in touch with you directly to discuss individual terms and policies relating to their stay. Wherever possible we have advised that if a stay cannot go ahead as planned, guests consider changing their dates rather than cancelling.

What do I say to a guest if they want to cancel their stay within the UK?  

If a guest needs to cancel a stay, we have recommended they get in contact with you to explore options, including the possibility of rearranging their booked dates. If they are not ready to commit to a future date, you could offer to credit their stay in gift vouchers (if this is something you offer).

What do I do if a guest doesn’t want to reschedule their UK stay?

If a guest does not want to rearrange their UK stay and is asking for a refund, you should recommend they contact their travel insurer to see whether they can claim back the cost of their trip. We’ve made guests aware that we are working with small, independent businesses whose policies in situations like these will vary.

In a widely covered report released by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the watchdog has issued guidance relating to full refunds if the product that the customer bought (specifically mentioning holiday accommodation) couldn’t be delivered. This means guests are now more likely to request refunds and are supported by this CMA guidance.

What do I need to do to re-open for guests?

The UK government released guidance for companies in the ‘visitor economy’ which includes places to stay.

In case you haven’t seen it already, please take a look. You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the guidance and implement where relevant to your place.

Visit Britain has launched the official “Good to Go” mark, in partnership with the Tourism Organisations of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. To receive the mark, you need to supply evidence of a Covid-19 specific risk assessment and the measures you will take to keep customers and staff safe. It’s free to register, and you can do so on the official website.

What if a guest is travelling from overseas where there is a travel ban? 

This will be on a case-by-case basis but we would recommend that they follow the current advice of their own government and travel advisories. If they are advising not to travel to a region, their travel insurance should provide them with a full refund. Alternatively, you can offer gift vouchers to credit their stay or suggest alternative dates. 

I have a property in France, Italy, Spain or Portugal and guests from the UK are wanting to cancel. What do I do?

We have told our guests to contact you directly so that you can go through your individual policies with them.

For European bookings we have recommended that guests check the current FCO advice, and to be aware that the UK has a mandatory self-isolation period for those arriving in the UK from abroad. There are exemptions to this self-isolation for people arriving into England from a specific list of countries, via travel corridors

Travel for the purposes of a holiday is currently prohibited across the UK. In the 4-step plan to ease lockdown, the government identified that international travel from England would be allowed to return in stage three (no earlier than 17 May), subject to review. 

The Welsh and Scottish administrations have their own guidelines regarding international travel, as does Northern Ireland

We would recommend that guests check whether they can claim back their holiday via their travel insurance if advised not to travel. Alternatively, you could offer them a date change or credit their stay via gift vouchers so they can book dates further in advance. 

Should I take new bookings?

For European owners, we would suggest that you follow your current Government advice about travel into and within your country.

Going forward, we would suggest that all owners set clear T&Cs for guests who make future bookings. Consider outlining what would happen to a booking in the event of local, regional or national lockdown as well as what happens if a guest displays symptoms before or during their stay. We would advise that you try to remain as flexible as possible to encourage guests to book.

View our advice to guests here >

How can I get in touch with Sawday’s?

Whilst many of the team are working remotely, we are using cloud technology to transfer telephone calls. As with many cloud services, during periods of increased demand, reliability has been affected. If your call isn’t answered within a few rings, we would encourage you to email your account manager or hello@sawdays.co.uk and we can get the relevant member of the team to get in touch with you.

What do I do if I am concerned about the financial future of my business?

For UK owners, we know that banks are being helpful. If you haven’t spoken to your bank about your situation you may want to do this. They can talk to you about overdrafts, working capital, grants and loans. 

You can find more information here >

The UK government has also announced measures to support businesses during this period. We would recommend keeping an eye on the UK Government website for the latest updates as they are announced. 

Last checked: 6 April 2021