Social media is full of celebrities on holiday in Dubai – are they above the law? – Telegraph.co.uk

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If you don’t follow any reality television stars or celebrities on social media, you may have missed the avalanche of photos in glitzy hotspots including Dubai, Tulum and the Maldives over New Year. Who cares, you might say.

Except for the fact that it has got many people riled up, asking the question of how UK-based celebrities have managed to avoid the rat’s nest of travel restrictions on home turf when the average Joe has been stuck within the confines of their own four walls thanks to the tier system and now a national lockdown. Some have used humour to express their outrage: there are memes, mocking tweets and even parody Tik Tok videos.

Hayley Hughes of Love Island and Chloe Ferry of Geordie Shore have both posted their fair share of Instagrams in Dubai; Strictly Come Dancing star Nicola Adams and her girlfriend Ella Baig are enjoying the sunshine in the Maldives; TOWIE star Ferne McCann flew off to South Africa; the list goes on.

Some have been called out for breaking the rules, but many appear to be getting away with it. So why exactly can celebrities still travel? Do they simply think they are above the rules because of wealth or fame?

There’s a number of plausible reasons, which we outline below.

They travelled to their destination before lockdown began.

Before Boris Johnson announced the third iteration of a national lockdown on January 4, the tier system had been in place for more than a month. It began on December 2 with three different tiers in place; Tier 4 was not added until December 19. 

Under the tier system, international travel was allowed for everyone living in Tier 1, 2 and 3; though the advice was only to travel when necessary. This left it up to the individual to decide. Separate to this, of course, there is the matter of which countries were accepting UK travellers and which countries had a travel corridor (meaning passengers returning to the UK would not have to quarantine). The places found in the middle of this Venn diagram, including the likes of the UAE and the Maldives, naturally gained appeal. Both are also popular winter sun destinations, and neither enforced a flight ban after news of a new variant spreading in the UK, unlike many other countries. 

In Tier 4 areas, international travel was prohibited apart from limited exceptions, such as work purposes.

During the lockdown, only essential trips are permitted, including travelling abroad. Once again there is an exemption for work that cannot reasonably be done from home.

It’s worth noting too that even after the announcement of Tier 4 and a national lockdown, British travellers have not been advised to return home sooner than intended if they had already made their outward journey. That said, some British tour operators and airlines are putting new arrangements into place to repatriate holidaymakers abroad before it becomes more difficult to fly back.

They are there for work that they cannot do from home.

One of the few exceptions for the blanket ban on international travel during the lockdown (and also before in Tier 4) is if the person is travelling for work they can not reasonably do from home. In this scenario, the UK Government website recommends that the person travelling still looks at the rules in place in their destination as well as the FCDO advice.

In many cases, reality stars who have been sharing their ‘holiday’ snaps have been tagging brands, talent agencies and tourism bodies in each post to indicate that it is paid-for branded content – in other words, work. Much in the same way journalists are permitted to travel to cover stories worldwide, or business leaders to thrash out deals, influencers and celebrities may also qualify for this exception to promote a particular destination, hotel or similar. There’s also the possibility they could be on location to film or model for a series or campaign.

They took a risk and travelled despite not having an excuse to. 

The final option is the one most people will assume off the bat: that celebrities think they are above the law. In which case, they’d be pretty brazen to be posting about it on social media. If they’re plumping for their third option, it’s more likely they’ll stay under the radar for the duration of the trip, and hope they’re not spotted at the airport on the way to the Maldives, like Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson of Made In Chelsea were despite living in Tier 4.

First published here: telegraph.co.uk

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