Brittany Ferries says extra quarantine rules in force from this weekend may not be as disastrous as first feared.
The UK government previously imposed 14-day self isolation regulations on travellers coming in from Spain and, as of yesterday, included France, as well as the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba.
Initially, Brittany Ferries – which runs routes from Plymouth to Santander and Roscoff – said the extra restrictions were ‘dreadful news’.
A statement from the company said: “Quarantine restrictions on those holidaying with Brittany Ferries in Normandy and Brittany will heap more pain on an already terrible summer season for the company and its passengers.”
The firm said it understands quarantine may be a tool used to combat the spread of covid-19 but believed measures must be proportional to the risk, enabling people to travel to and from lower risk areas within different countries.
CEO Christophe Mathieu said: “This announcement is dreadful news for Brittany Ferries. It threatens what little remains of an already disastrous summer season.”
But the company has now said it hopes holidaymakers visiting its French destinations follow the stoicism of those who have travelled to Spain over the past fortnight.
It says passenger figures show evidence of ‘traditional British stoicism’ and seem to suggest people are making their own minds up about going ahead with holidays despite having to self isolate on their return.
Since quarantine was imposed on those returning from Spain, Brittany Ferries has continued to run services connecting Portsmouth and Plymouth with Santander and Bilbao. In that period only around one in five of those who booked to travel has cancelled or changed their travel plans; the majority have carried on sailing.
Mr 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 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 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 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.”
Brittany Ferries says it will closely follow demand over the coming weeks.
Before the latest news it expected to carry around 240,000 passengers this summer which compares with around 780,000 for a normal year.
The company has warned of potential changes to schedules at the end of the summer, if demand falls to levels which mean services become unsustainable.