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As far as the first week of January goes, this one has been particularly bleak, with covid death rates on the rise once more as England is plunged into its third national lockdown.
It's not how any of us hoped to start the new year - but with the prospect of a vaccine roll-out finally in motion, many of us are looking forward to a time when we can see our loves ones again, return to work and, just maybe, go on holiday (remember those?)
But for a number of celebrities gracing our social media feeds RN, our dreams seem to be their... reality? In holiday destinations across the globe, namely Dubai, Aspen and Mexico, resorts are packed with celebrities escaping the pandemic.
Rightly, people are confused. Is this acceptable?
Under lockdown rules, Brits are legally required to stay at home. You can only travel (whether internationally or within the UK) if you have a legally permitted reason. This was also the case under last month's Tier 3 and Tier 4 restrictions which stated that you should avoid travelling apart from for work purposes.
But for weeks now, celebrities have been flocking to the likes of the Maldives and Dubai - and many are wondering how this is possible.
It's worth pointing out that some celebs have insisted they are abroad for work - and while our idea of work might look a little different at the moment, many are. Or, they departed weeks ago under different tier rules.
While there's no suggestion they're breaking the rules, it's fair to say that people are getting increasingly angry over the kind of example it's setting for others, especially considering the far-reaching influence celebrities have.
For British stars, the Maldives and Dubai seem to be the hot spots, with the likes of Chloe Ferry, TOWIE stars James Lock, Yazmin Oukhellou, Amber Turner and Dan Edgar, and Love Island stars Amber Gill, Georgia Steel and Laura Anderson, all jetting off in recent weeks.
Elsewhere, reality star Ferne McCann is raising eyebrows with her trip to South Africa.
Meanwhile, US celebs have been flocking to Mexico and the Caribbean, with the Kardashians, Sofia Richie, Sebastian Stan and Dua Lipa escaping the pandemic for sunnier climes.
In fact, the number of visitors entering Mexico from the US reached more than half a million in November and - according to Worldometer - Mexico recorded more than 12,500 new coronavirus cases on 23rd December (which is the most since the beginning of the pandemic).
For many, celebs living seemingly normal lives while a deadly third wave rips through our cities at home, is a bitter pill to swallow. Thanks to the nature of social media, videos of reality stars partying on yachts can be just a swipe away from packed ICUs, clips of Covid nurses begging the public to stay at home and parents struggling to balance 9-5 jobs with childcare.
One person who's grown increasingly fed up of celebrities flouting their privilege is founder of US-based Instagram account, @celebritycovidvacations, which has been tracking which celebrities have been jetting off on holiday during the pandemic. The account does not feature those on work related trips.
Remaining anonymous, they told Tyla why they were appalled to see so many American celebs on holiday in recent weeks.
"This pandemic has really highlighted the divide between the haves and the have-nots. It seems people who can afford to travel continue to do so despite multiple warnings from experts," they told Tyla.
"Celebrities like to use their platforms for good causes and the pandemic is no different. We see many of them urging their followers to wear masks and stay home. So to see some of those same people on vacation is appalling.
"Like most things in life, the wealthy and the privileged live by a different set of rules. If you have the money to travel you can always find a country willing to take you in.
"Mexico relies on tourism to keep their economy stable so they have opened their borders to Americans with little to no Covid restrictions. Many people took advantage of this. My point is that just because you legally can travel doesn't mean you should. And these people know better."
They added: "I don't want to 'cancel' these celebs. That's not my intention. I don't even tag them in my posts. I just want to call out this behaviour so maybe one of them develops a conscious and changes their ways.
"I don't know why more people don't call them out. I think celebrities are very hesitant to call out bad behaviour from other celebrities.
"But if I could say anything to these people it would be this - those private planes still require staff, those yachts they charter still require staff. There's no way to ensure they won't get sick, no matter how wealthy they are so I don't understand why they take the risk.
"One of my closest friends is a doctor at a very hard hit hospital in Brooklyn. Her last year has been hell. Three of my family members have been hospitalised with Covid and are still struggling with the effects.
"Cases in Mexico are spiking. Please take your own advice and stay home. Do it for your family and friends and for frontline workers."
For UK celebrities, Dubai quickly became a travel hotspot when it was added to the travel corridor list on 14th November, meaning isolating upon return was no longer required.
Even now, under lockdown, a quick Skyscanner search shows multiple flights leaving the UK to Dubai over the next few days.
At present, visitors are required to either obtain a negative Covid-19 PCR test before departure (which is valid for 96 hours) or take a test on arrival.
But as one "increasingly desperate" A&E doctor pointed out on Twitter, it's not always so straightforward. In response to having a test prior to a 'gathering' the doctor tweeted: "YOU CANNOT be 'cleared' for a gathering by a negative COVID test.
YOU CANNOT be "cleared" for a gathering by a negative COVID test
1) Might be too early in course to detect virus
2) ~20% of tests are false negatives
3) You could become infected literally 0.1 seconds after your swab
An increasingly desperate ER doctor https://t.co/f6q3V8UGj5
- Wil Gibb, MD (@Wil_Gibb) December 27, 2020
Although many are now wondering whether Brits will be required to return home as soon as possible, the UK government has advised that residents do not need to fly back immediately - but urges those abroad to check with their travel operator for arrangements.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/James Lock/Laura Anderson/Chloe Ferry
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