Europe is set to lift its border restrictions on international travelers in July. But only starting with countries with low infection levels, which rules out Americans and those arriving from the U.S. In other words tourism and holidaying will begin in Europe from July 1, but not for everybody.
The criteria for the lifting of the Europe travel ban will probably bar tourists from Brazil, Russia, Argentina and Iran too, as other holidaymakers return. Europe will also remain off limits to travelers from other high-risk countries where Covid-19 infection rates remain high.
The European Commission in Brussels has published guidelines to help EU members gradually abolish the restrictions on non-essential travel to the bloc from July 1. The plan hinges on certain criteria: namely the infections rate in other countries.
Holidaymakers Return To Europe July 1: Some Nations Will Be Barred
The EU wants the 30 EU and Schengen countries to end travel restrictions based on strict health criteria. “Given that the health situation in certain third countries remains critical, the Commission does not propose a general lifting of the travel restriction at this stage,” the document states.
Brussels is asking European governments to select together the countries to whom they will first give the green light. The decision it says should be based on factors “including the health situation, the ability to apply containment measures during travel, and reciprocity considerations.” Covid-19 data from the World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention And Control should inform the decision.
Covid-19 Infection Rates Clincher In Getting Green Light To Europe
Key factors to consider, it says, are:
1. Does the country have a similar or better epidemiological situation as the average in the EU+ area with regard to:
a. The number of new Covid-19 infections
b. The trend in new infections
c. The health response to Covid-19: testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting.
U.S Infection Rates Sure to Rule Out American Holidaymakers
The escalation of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. over the past week will hardly help the cause of American travelers to Europe.
“Given the U.S. currently has an average of about 345 active cases of coronavirus infections per 100,000 citizens, the chances are high that travelers from the U.S. will only be able to travel to the Schengen zone at a later date,” estimates Granit Sadiku, a researcher at SchengenVisaInfo.
He says as EU countries reopen land borders to fellow Europeans, they are applying infection rates lower than 15 per 100,000 citizens. Tourists from countries with higher infection levels may face quarantine and corona tests when all the borders reopen by late June. “Such categorization may apply for the reopening of the external borders of the Schengen Area,” Sadiku says.
List of Welcome Countries Will be Regularly Expanded
The EU wants member countries to regularly update the list of countries for whom travel restrictions can be lifted. This means more tourists will be welcome back on the continent throughout July and probably August too.
Members have the final say on the border measures. Some may go their own way, to an extent. Greece, for example, says all travelers are welcome from June 15. Though a quarantine for many nations including U.S. citizens puts a damper on that. Others such as Italy make it quite clear Americans are still not allowed. Other than for permanent residents, or “proven work and urgent health needs”.
Some Exemptions for Travelers from High Risk Countries
Some exemptions for travelers from banned countries–including foreign students–are envisaged. “For countries towards which the restriction remains in place, the Commission proposes to enlarge the categories of permitted travellers to include, for instance, international students,” the EU says.