Great Dunmow can plan for the summer with confidence after a change to international travel testing rules, the town's deputy mayor has said.

Councillor Alexander Armstrong has described the recently relaxed Covid-19 test rules as a "boon" for businesses in towns near Stansted Airport.

The government changed its coronavirus testing requirements for UK arrivals on Friday, January 7 and Sunday, January 9.


Passengers who are fully vaccinated or under 18 arriving in the UK no longer need to complete pre-departure tests.

They will need to pay for a private rapid lateral flow test on arrival, and only pay for a PCR test if the result is positive.

Cllr Armstrong said: "We still need caution because anything could happen, but the new rules mean we can plan for a positive summer."

He said that Dunmow's High Street must "continue to offer variety" to make 2022 a success.

%image(15408564, type="article-full", alt="Councillor Alexander Armstrong has said that changes to international travel Covid-19 testing rules could be a "boon" for Great Dunmow")

Cllr Armstrong said: "High streets can't survive on just a haircut and a cup of coffee.

"We benefit from our proximity from Stansted Airport, overnight guests, and - with events like the Flitch Trials coming up - Dunmow being a destination in its own right.

"I am delighted for any business which relies on international travel, but I'm particularly pleased for those in Dunmow which will benefit."

He said that it will be important to work with the aviation sector on commercial and environmental goals as passengers return.

Flitch Travel, an agent in Dunmow, has welcomed the changes.

Tina Bender, Flitch Travel co-owner, said: "So many people haven't even removed their passport from the drawer since the pandemic began.

"I think people need a break.

"Covid-19 made going on holiday difficult, with travellers fearing they may be split up from their families across borders if they caught Covid."

Tina added: "So many businesses have shut up shop in this area, but I'm excited about this summer."

%image(15406358, type="article-full", alt="Jet2 reported a 150% increase in holiday sales overnight after the government announced new international travel testing rules on January 5 (File photo)")

Airline Jet2 reported a 150% rise in holiday sales overnight on January 5, after the government announced new rules.

Steve Heapy, Jet2 boss, said: "We have seen an immediate and dramatic spike in bookings, with volumes heading towards pre-pandemic levels."