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UK open for business as quarantine axed for int’l artists

In news welcomed by the live music business, performers vaccinated in the EU or US will no longer have to quarantine on arrival in England

By Jon Chapple on 28 Jul 2021

To avoid quarantine, touring artists must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19

image © Tom Wolf (CC BY 2.0)

International performers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the United States or European Union will no longer need to quarantine after entering England from Monday, the British government has announced.

The change, which comes into force at 4am BST on 2 August, will see the replacement of mandatory quarantine with a single Covid-19 test before departing their country of origin and a PCR test on the second day after their arrival in England. The new rules apply to all countries rated ‘amber’ for coronavirus risk, with the exception of travellers from France, who will still be required to quarantine.

In addition to the pre-departure test, arrivals from the US will also need to provide proof of US residency.

In a statement, LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), which represents the UK’s live music business, welcomes the move, saying it will enable foreign artists to play shows and festivals in England in the coming months.

“We are extremely pleased to see that government has taken the decision to allow people into the UK without the need to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated in Europe or the USA,” says a LIVE spokesperson. “This will allow international artists to perform at our world-leading festivals and venues over the coming months and will provide a vital boost to our iconic live music industry as we come out of lockdown.”

To take advantage of the changes, artists will need to have taken a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency or the US Food and Drug Administration (ie Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) and been vaccinated in either the EU or US.

“This will allow international artists to perform at our world-leading festivals and venues over the coming months”

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps says: “We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel, and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade, this is progress we can all enjoy.

“We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data, but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours.”

It is not known when Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (which, unlike England, have devolved local governments) will follow suit in doing away with mandatory quarantine.

A Scottish government spokesperson tells the Scotsman it will wait for a whole-of-UK solution before opening Scotland’s borders, and warns against travel for leisure: “We aim to come to a four-nations position on international travel restrictions wherever possible. However, our current position remains international travel for holidaying purposes remains risky and subject to sudden change.

“We have said before people should think very carefully about travelling, and especially so given the prevalence and unpredictable nature of variants of concern.”


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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