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Holiday Travel, testing results, Isolation period and the theatre

I arrive in London, Heathrow, on New Year Day and was given 2 different answers from the labs I called.
The first lab I called is closed on News Years Day- So the first opportunity I would have to test is Sunday- The lab representative said that the PCR tests for arrivals are processed by a government lab and although the post is off, they have their own courier that would deliver the test to the lab- but that he couldn't answer for the processing time and if the lab would be open since Monday is a holiday.

The second lab I called is at Heathrow and it is business as usual- they are open on New Years - promised results the next day.

I was hoping that one you travelers would confirm that this is true- The woman I spoke to, after I was on hold for about 3 hours, was pretty exhausted.

Theatre- My trip is a solo trip to enjoy the theatre that London offers and I have tickets for 5 productions. Then I read yesterday about the productions that are closed because of Covid-19 outbreaks. If one reads and listens to the news staying home seems to be the best option. Is it really that bad in London? Is Omicron in the process of shutting down the city?

Thank you for your input.

Posted by
6515 posts

The ExpressTest center at Heathrow is open according to the scheduling site. The one person I know of who recently went to England tested at Terminal 2 and her results came back in 26 hours, ahead of the 10pm next day stated on the site. Which time slots are open, I’m not certain.

With regard to the theater, you are correct that a number of shows have temporarily closed. Bad is a relative term, but the number of cases has skyrocketed in the last week and will most likely continue. Masks are required on public transportation and indoors with the exception of pubs and restaurants. Proof of vaccination is required for venues holding large numbers of people. The BBC has had a number of articles recently on the changes. Whether you decide to go is strictly up to you. If your primary reason for going is the theatre, you may want to reconsider..

Posted by
6113 posts

Omicron isn’t in the process of shutting down London. It’s looking like it’s going to shut down the country.

Whilst with the current incumbent is PM, a full lockdown may not happen (even if it should), it looks as though there are going to have to be far more restrictions from January to protect the health service. Whilst it’s just speculation, I haven’t spoken to anyone this week that isn’t expecting more extensive restrictions after Christmas.

Wales and Scotland are introducing restrictions already.

Several London theatre performances have been cancelled this week as cast and crews have tested positive. You may need a NHS Covid Pass to get into some theatres (dependant on their capacity).

Posted by
2501 posts

You’re arriving at the worst possible time.

I wouldn’t guarantee any turnaround times on testing on that weekend. New Year’s day on Saturday is a holiday. Sunday everything will be pretty much closed. And Monday is a bank holiday to make up for the fact that New Years falls on a Saturday. Be prepared to be in isolation for much longer than you want to be. Up to Tuesday/Wednesday – who knows for sure?

Is omicron in the process of shutting down the city? Could be – the number of cases is huge and will keep growing. Football matches are being called off and theatre shows are cancelled due to sickness. I expect the next month to be pretty dire. Maybe not deaths but plenty testing positive for covid.

I wouldn’t travel for a couple of months.

Posted by
11167 posts

Grocery stores are essential, theater/theatre, is not.

I suspect if things start shutting down, theatres will be one of the first to be hit. Not an essential service and with large numbers of people close together for an extended time indoors, makes it a wonderful spreading opportunity for the crud.

I concur with a previous post, if the theatre is your primary purpose for the trip, reconsideration may be order.

Posted by
2299 posts

hey hey cynthia
cancel trip, stay home where you are safer than traveling to london and the unknown. in my opinion, it is that bad everywhere. why risk your health?
london and theatre will always be there.
stay safe

Posted by
2308 posts

England has some of the most restrictive practices in place throughout the pandemic. It sure doesn’t seem to be close to letting up. The holidays will certainly make things worse.

I would not be traveling at this time if the entire purpose is for theater. What if they all close on your arrival day? What if you don’t get your test results back until Tuesday, even Wednesday. That’s a long time to stare at hotel room walls.

Posted by
855 posts

The NY Times just published an article on what to do if you test positive while overseas. Not everyone can get access to it, but the simple message is really to worry about testing positive when you want to come home ... potentially having to stay an extra ten days....

Posted by
6113 posts

The main problem isn’t if you test positive before your return home IMO. What if you test positive on arrival and can’t leave your accommodation for days? A miserable holiday!

Posted by
296 posts

We arrived in the UK earlier this week and did our arrival PCR at Expresstest at Heathrow T2. We did the test at about 4.30pm and the result came back 24 hours later. But I would be concerned arriving over NY that it may not be as speedy as that.

We are booked to go to the ballet, and we'll just have to see if the performance goes ahead. Other than that, our main reason for being here is seeing family, and we're avoiding central London as much as possible and sticking to the countryside.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you for your input. It really is the worst possible time- It wasn't when I booked the trip.

I will continue to watch the news- My trip is not essential so will probably put it on hold until another time.