By sea, rail or by air, Brits scramble to get out of France

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By sea, rail or by air, Brits scramble to get out of France

Friday, August 14, 2020

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LONDON, United Kingdom (AP) — Cars lined up at ports while trains and planes filled out fast as British tourists scurried to get out of France on Friday before a deadline that would require them to quarantine at home for two weeks.

Families cut summer vacations short and other travellers made hasty plans to return to the UK by whatever means possible before the 4:00 am. Saturday deadline. Eurostar trains between Paris and London and airport lounges that were almost empty earlier in the coronavirus pandemic filled with passengers. Those with more means opted for private jets.

The exodus was prompted by the British government's decision late Thursday to take France off a list of nations exempt from traveller quarantine requirements because of a sharp rise there in new virus infections. For those who cannot work from home on their return, the mandatory self-quarantine could see them penalized financially.

The UK move has the potential to upend the plans of those planning trips in the days ahead, particularly of families during the run-up to schools reopening in September. French businesses running campsites in Brittany, wine-tasting tours in the Loire Valley or mountain treks in the Alps also have reason to worry.

The French government has indicated it will respond in kind to Britain's decision, further hobbling travel and tourism at a time when the industry is trying to recover from the economic shock of the pandemic.

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