Staycations are booming as Brits shun overseas trips amid chaos over the quarantine order for those returning from Spain.
Bookings for UK breaks have soared as fears rise that other countries including France, Germany and Croatia could be axed from the safe travel list.
Widespread cancellations of foreign holidays have been reported and tourism chiefs warn reimposing quarantine will be the “final nail in the coffin” for many in the industry.
The Foreign Office last night advised against all but essential travel to the Balearic and Canary Islands, in line with mainland Spain – despite pleas to exempt tourism hotspots such as Majorca, Ibiza and Tenerife where infection rates are lower.
However, just one person has been fined by police for breaching quarantine rules after arriving from overseas, figures from police forces in England and Wales show.
There was also fury after the Government said holidaymakers unable to claim sick pay during the 14-day self-isolation should claim benefits instead.
TUC chief Frances O’Grady said: “No one should suffer financially for following official advice to quarantine.”
Some 14 million Brits will play safe and choose a UK break before the schools reopen in September.
Butlin’s said it was doing a roaring trade since it reopened on Friday as more families shun holidays abroad.
Domestic holiday giant Haven said bookings at its 36 parks had soared by 96% year-on-year.
Caravan sites were also proving popular with bookings increasing by up to 140% in Devon, while camping website pitch.com said demand had doubled year-on-year.
Stay-at-home school holidays will give the UK economy a much-needed £3.7billion boost, said VisitBritain.
It comes as officials keep watch on rises in coronavirus rates in popular holiday destinations, with Germany and France being closely monitored. Health minister Helen Whately said: “If we see rates going up we would have to take action because we cannot take the risk of coronavirus being spread again across the UK.”
The UK’s official coronavirus death toll rose by seven, the lowest increase since March 12, taking the total to 45,759. The number of UK cases has broken the 300,000 barrier, said Public Health England.
Cases worldwide have doubled in the last six weeks and now stand at almost 16 million, the World Health Organisation said.
The Balearic Islands have had 2,483 cases since the start of the outbreak and 230 deaths, said majorcadailybulletin.com.
More than 6,000 new cases were reported across the whole of Spain over the weekend.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Decisions on border measures and travel advice can be changed rapidly if necessary to help stop the spread of the disease.
“Unfortunately no travel is risk-free during this pandemic and disruption is possible.
“Anyone travelling abroad should be aware our travel advice and exemption list is under constant review.”
The comments, coming just days into the school holidays, risk paralysing the travel industry just weeks after restrictions were finally lifted for travel to scores of countries. Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds urged the Government to introduce “smarter measures” at the border rather than a blanket quarantine.
But the Foreign Office said: “We have concluded that we should advise British nationals against all non-essential travel to the whole of Spain.”
Tour operators were reporting “lots of cancellations” after the Government gave holidaymakers just four hours’ notice of its Spain decision at the weekend. Gemma Antrobus, of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, said: “It feels like the rug has been pulled from under our feet.”
Paul Charles of travel consultants the PC Agency added: “People are cancelling not just Spain but other short-haul bookings. We’ve heard of lots of cancellations for holidays to France, Italy and Greece.”
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary called the Spain quarantine order a “badly managed over-reaction”.
Britain’s biggest holiday firm TUI joined calls for a “more nuanced policy” to include rules based on regions as well as countries. It has cancelled all its bookings to Spain up to and including August 9. Budget airline Jet2.com cancelled flights to four destinations on the mainland.
Employers are under no obligation to pay staff while they self-isolate.
Self-employed workers could be forced to give up jobs, and some employees could even face the sack.
They can only get statutory sick pay if they have to self-isolate for a different reason, such as developing coronavirus symptoms or being contacted by NHS Test and Trace. No10 said they should claim Universal Credit or go to work dispute service ACAS. Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds slammed Tory ministers for “crossing their fingers and hoping employers will do the right thing”.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is cutting short his holiday in Spain and is among the 600,000 Brits there who must quarantine on their return.