John and Irene Hays, who lead the Sunderland-based independent travel agent, say they welcome the Government’s plan to regionalise the quarantine rules, allowing customers to only follow the guidance if they are returning from certain locations, rather than the whole country.
It comes after people returning from seven Greek islands Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos, and Zakynthos – also known as Zante – were told they will need to self-isolate for 14 days if they arrive after 4am tomorrow, Wednesday, September 9, in the latest update on restrictions.
However, they added the number of people booking is up, not just for next year but later in 2020, as customers look to make up for time lost in lockdown and were optimistic "in the medium term” for their business.
They said they are continuing to talk to workers over job losses after it announced last month up to 878 roles could be made redundant due to the crisis.
They said as the number of people on holiday falls, social distancing will be more possible abroad – with European destinations working especially hard to enforce the rules.
When asked about the job losses, Irene told BBC 5Live’s Breakfast show: “We were really hopeful in July, the business was coming back and there was clear evidence of that.
"We saw the number of new bookings, not just for 2021 but this year too, increasing on a daily basis, then when lockdown in Spain happened we knew the massive impact that it would have, it was just incredibly sad for us, we’ve never made significant redundancies in 40 years, we’ve known many of these people for many many years, it is absolutely heartbreaking.
"We are doing everything in our power to do what we can to find work or find a solution through this, but we have no alternative, we need to make decisions for the greater good of the business and all the rest of the thousands of people we employ, but it’s heartbreaking for us.”