THE boss of a holiday firm with a store in Oswestry has branded the government’s newly-imposed quarantine rules on those returning from holidays in Spain as ‘very disappointing’.

Don Bircham, of Hays Travel North West, insists his company believes in prioritising the safety of customers over all else, but believes the decision taken by the UK Government is a blow.

New rules imposed on Saturday now state those travelling back from Spain must enter a 14-day period of quarantine.

The decision has been made in response to spikes in the Covid-19 infection rates in areas of Spain; however, Mr Bircham believes the decision is less necessary in some regions which are more popular with UK tourists.

He said: “The safety of our customers is always paramount for us but this blanket decision on travel to and from Spain is very disappointing.

“The spikes in Covid-19 cases have been in Catalonia and the Basque region while major tourist areas on the Costa del Sol and in the Balearic and Canary Islands have lower infection rates than the UK.”

Those living in the UK who are still hoping for a break in the sun are permitted to travel to a host of European countries, without the prospect of a period of quarantine upon their return.

With infection rates lower in the Balearic and Canary Islands, Mr Bircham expects quarantine rules for those regions could be lifted sooner.

He added: “We expect that quarantine for those islands may be lifted quite quickly and indeed our customers seem to share that view as we are still taking bookings for those areas for late August and September.

“Holidays remain available for Greece, Turkey, Italy and France and again interest remains high.”

Hugh Elliot, British Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, said: “I know this is disruptive for travellers already in, or planning to come to Spain, but we’ve had to take swift action to protect public health in the UK.

“We are now advising against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain, and this is because of a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Spain over the last week.

“Please note this travel advice does not include the Balaeric or Canary Islands, because the rate of Covid-19 infection cases is still lower on those islands.

“But, if you decide to travel to the Balaerics or the Canaries, you will now need to self-isolate for 14 days on your return to the UK.”