EU Allows Travelers . . . But Not From the U.S.

Posted by on Jul 9, 2020 in World

Planning a European vacation? Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you will be able to take it anytime soon. That’s because the European Union (EU) has barred travelers from nations with high levels of COVID-19 . . . among them, the United States. Here, btw takes a closer look at the reason for the ban, its potential impact on U.S. travel, and if we can expect to see the ban lifted anytime soon.

Interior of large passengers airplane with people on seats and stewardess in uniform walking the aisle.
Because of COVID-19 the European Union is not letting U.S. travelers into Europe right now. Credit: Matej Kastelic/kasto/123RF

Why the United States?

Like the United States, the European Union has closed its borders to international travel. Last week, however, the EU announced that it would begin reopening its borders to travelers from other countries. But there’s a catch: only fifteen countries–ones that have their COVID-19 numbers under control–will be included.

To determine who would and would not make the list, the European Council looked at two factors: the number of new cases a country has had in the last two weeks, and whether or not its infection rate is at or below the EU’s levels. Among the nations that made the list are China, Japan, and South Korea. China was hit hard by the virus early on but has since managed to bring down their number of cases to manageable levels. Other permitted nations include Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

Here in the United States, however, after several weeks of decline, the rate of new cases has recently increased. But there’s more to it than just a numbers game. The EU required reciprocity from its travel partners–in other words, the international travel must be able to go both ways. And the United States still doesn’t allow travelers from most European nations into the U.S.

So What Happens Now?

The European Council has agreed to revise its list of permitted nations frequently, as often as every two weeks. The European Council will also continue ongoing conversations with the United States. Not allowing U.S. travelers will likely take a significant financial toll on European economies. Last year, more than two million Americans visited Europe.  No one is sure when U.S. COVID-19 infection rates will meet the levels required by the European Union.

Dig Deeper Use Internet resources to find out more about one of the fifteen nations on the EU’s acceptable travel list. What is the infection rate? Why do you think the rate was lower at the time that the EU issued its guidelines?