The August bank holiday may be a little different this year if lockdown restrictions continue throughout the summer.
When is the 2020 August bank holiday?
This year’s August bank holiday will fall at the end of the month, on 31 August 2020, which is a Monday.
Normally, the August bank holiday sees beaches and beauty spots across the UK filled with people enjoying time off work. However, this year’s bank holiday plans look a little more uncertain, as the UK begins to emerge from several months of coronavirus lockdown.
Will we still be in lockdown in August?
Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are all tentatively beginning to ease lockdown restrictions, albeit at different paces.
The hope is that cases will continue to fall, allowing life to slowly return to normal for people across the UK.
Some, including Former Director of the WHO Cancer Programme Professor Karol Sikora, have predicted that life will be pretty much back to normal in the UK by August, possibly allowing for holiday plans to go ahead.
At the end of May, Prof Sikora tweeted, “I think by August things will be virtually back to normal, perhaps sooner.
"We should still prepare for the worst, but hope for the best!"
However, further easing of restrictions will continue to depend on the spread of coronavirus, and if cases spike once again, people across the UK could be spending bank holiday under renewed lockdown restrictions.
Several countries, including Beijing and Germany, have seen cases spike again after relaxation of lockdown restrictions, with the former fearing a full-blown second wave of the virus.
Officials across the UK will be carefully observing case numbers to determine whether a return to lockdown measures will be necessary.
Can I book a holiday?
While some countries like Spain have said that they will be welcoming tourists from July, travellers returning to the UK will be forced to enter a 14 day quarantine period to limit the spread of coronavirus.
There has been some speculation that this rule may be dropped, however, so last minute breaks abroad in August may be possible. The government is still currently advising against non-essential travel abroad.
Holidaying in the UK may be possible, with rules relaxed in England from 4 July on stays in self-contained accommodation, including caravans and self-catering cottages. Campsites will also reopen, as long as shared facilities are carefully maintained and kept clean.
In Northern Ireland, self-catering holiday accommodation will reopen from 26 June, with hotels opening on 3 July.
On 9 July, a decision will be taken in Wales as to whether the country will open up to tourists. If the move gets the green light, the rule will likely take effect from 13 July.
In Scotland self-contained accommodation can be booked from 3 July, and all other holiday accommodation from 15 July.
You should refund policies carefully if booking a holiday, and consider taking out travel insurance in case coronavirus restrictions mean you can’t go on your planned break.
When is the next bank holiday after August?
Normally, there would not be another bank holiday in England or Wales until Christmas Day.
The idea of introducing another bank holiday in October as a boost for the tourism industry was suggested earlier this year by tourism group, Visit Britain. Its acting head, Patricia Yates, told MPs in May that the tourism industry had missed out on two crucial bank holidays in May, thanks to the coronavirus lockdown.
At the time, however, the government warned that an extra bank holiday would come at a huge cost to the UK economy when it was already struggling.
At the start of June, the Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy department ruled out the idea of an extra bank holiday, claiming that it would come at a cost of £1 billion to the economy.