The EU is set to reopen to American tourists
The Commission is proposing that Member States ease the current restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU to take into account the progress of vaccination campaigns and developments in the epidemiological situation worldwide.
The Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine. This could be extended to vaccines having completed the WHO emergency use listing process. In addition, the Commission proposes to raise, in line with the evolution of the epidemiological situation in the EU, the threshold related to the number of new COVID-19 cases used to determine a list of countries from which all travel should be permitted. This should allow the Council to expand this list.
At the same time, the emergence of coronavirus variants of concern calls for continued vigilance. Therefore as counter-balance, the Commission proposes a new ‘emergency brake' mechanism, to be coordinated at EU level and which would limit the risk of such variants entering the EU. This will allow Member States to act quickly and temporarily limit to a strict minimum all travel from affected countries for the time needed to put in place appropriate sanitary measures.
Non-essential travel for vaccinated travellers
The Commission proposes that Member States lift restrictions on non-essential travel for vaccinated persons travelling to the EU. This reflects the latest scientific advice showing that vaccination considerably helps to break the transmission chain.
Member States should allow travel into the EU of those people who have received, at least 14 days before arrival, the last recommended dose of a vaccine having received marketing authorisation in the EU. Member States could also extend this to those vaccinated with a vaccine having completed the WHO emergency use listing process. In addition, if Member States decide to waive the requirements to present a negative PCR test and/or to undergo quarantine for vaccinated persons on their territory, they should also waive such requirements for vacccinated travellers from outside the EU.
This should be facilitated once the Digital Green Certificate becomes operational, in line with the rules the Commission proposed on 17 March. In particular, travellers should be able to prove their vaccination status with a Digital Green Certificate issued by Member States' authorities on an individual basis, or with another certificate recognised as equivalent by virtue of a Commission adequacy decision.
Until the Digital Green Certificate is operational, Member States should be able to accept certificates from non-EU countries based on national law, taking into account the ability to verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate and whether it contains all relevant data.
Member States could consider setting up a portal allowing travellers to ask for the recognition of a vaccination certificate issued by a non-EU country as reliable proof of vaccination and/or for the issuance of a Digital Green Certificate.
Children who are excluded from vaccination should be able to travel with their vaccinated parents if they have a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken at the earliest 72 hours before arrival area. In these cases, Member States could require additional testing after arrival.
Full lifting of non-essential travel restriction from more countries
Non-essential travel regardless of individual vaccination status is currently permitted from 7 countries with a good epidemiological situation. This list is decided by the Council on the basis of epidemiological criteria contained in the current recommendation.
The Commission is proposing to amend the criteria to take into account the mounting evidence of the positive impact of vaccination campaigns. The proposal is to increase the threshold of 14-day cumulative COVID-19 case notification rate from 25 to 100. This remains considerably below the current EU average, which is over 420.
The adapted threshold should allow the Council to expand the list of countries from which non-essential travel is permitted regardless of vaccination status, subject to health-related measures such as testing and/or quarantine. As now, the Council should review this list at least every 2 weeks.
Essential travel to remain permitted
Those travelling for essential reasons, including notably healthcare professionals, cross-border workers, seasonal agricultural workers, transport staff and seafarers, passengers in transit, those travelling for imperative family reasons or those coming to study should continue to be allowed to enter the EU, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or which country they come from. The same applies to EU citizens and long-term residents as well as their family members. Such travel should continue to be subject to health-related measures, such as testing and quarantine as decided by Member States.
‘Emergency brake' to counter the spread of variants
When the epidemiological situation of a non-EU country worsens quickly and in particular if a variant of concern or interest is detected, a Member State can urgently and temporarily suspend all inbound travel by non-EU citizens resident in such a country. The only exceptions in this case would be healthcare professionals, transport personnel, diplomats, transit passengers, those travelling for imperative family reasons, seafarers, and persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons. Such travellers should be subject to strict testing and quarantine arrangements even if they have been vaccinated.
When a Member State applies such restrictions, the Member States meeting within the Council structures should review the situation together in a coordinated manner and in close cooperation with the Commission, and they should continue doing so at least every 2 weeks.
It is now for the Council to consider this proposal. A first discussion is scheduled at technical level in the Council's integrated political crisis response (IPCR) meeting taking place on 4 May, followed by a discussion at the meeting of EU Ambassadors (Coreper) on 5 May.
Once the proposal is adopted by the Council, it will be for Member States to implement the measures set out in the recommendation. The Council should review the list of non-EU countries exempted from the travel restriction in light of the updated criteria and continue doing so every 2 weeks.
A temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU is currently in place from many non-EU countries, based on a recommendation agreed by the Council. The Council regularly reviews, and where relevant updates, the list of countries from where travel is possible, based on the evaluation of the health situation.
This restriction covers non-essential travel only. Those who have an essential reason to come to Europe should continue to be able to do so. The categories of travellers with an essential function or need are listed in Annex II of the Council Recommendation. EU citizens and long-term residents as well as their family members should also be allowed to enter the EU.
Following a proposal by the Commission, the Council agreed on 2 February 2021 additional safeguards and restrictions for international travellers into the EU, aimed at ensuring that essential travel to the EU continues safely in the context of the emergence of new coronavirus variants and the volatile health situation worldwide. These continue to apply.
On 17 March 2021, in a Communication on a common path to Europe's safe re-opening, the Commission committed to keeping the operation of the Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU under close review, and propose amendments in line with relevant developments. Today's proposal updates the Council recommendation.
In parallel to preparing for the resumption of international travel for vaccinated travellers, the Commission proposed on 17 March 2021 to create a Digital Green Certificate, showing proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19, to help facilitate safe and free movement inside the EU. This proposal also provides the basis for recognising non-EU countries' vaccination certificates.
The Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU relates to entry into the EU. When deciding whether restrictions on non-essential travel can be lifted for a specific non-EU country, Member States should take account of the reciprocity granted to EU countries. This is a separate issue from that of the recognition of certificates issued by non-EU countries under the Digital Green Certificate.
The Council recommendation covers all Member States (except Ireland), as well as the 4 non-EU states that have joined the Schengen area: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. For the purpose of the travel restriction, these countries are covered in a similar way as the Member States.
The latest information on the rules applying to entry from non-EU countries as communicated by Member States are available on the Re-open EU website.
For More Information
Proposal for a Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU and the possible lifting of such restriction, 3 May 2021
Smithsonian museums in DC to reopen starting in May
The Smithsonian will reopen eight of its facilities to the public in May, starting with the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, Wednesday, May 5. Additional museums and the National Zoo will open Friday, May 14, and Friday, May 21. All locations will reopen with added health and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors will need to reserve free timed-entry passes for all locations. All other Smithsonian museums will remain temporarily closed to the public. Reopening Schedule Wednesday, May 5 Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Friday, May 14 National Museum of African American History and Culture National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery Friday, May 21 National Museum of American History National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C., location) National Zoo Safety Measures To protect the health of visitors and staff, safety measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources will include: Requesting that all visitors who are sick or do not feel well stay home. Requiring visitors ages 2 and older to wear face coverings during their visit. Closely monitoring and limiting the number of people in each location. Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass in advance of their visit. Implementing safe social distancing, including one-way paths and directional guidance where appropriate. Providing hand-sanitizing stations for visitors and conducting enhanced cleaning throughout all facilities. Museum cafes will not be open at this time. Restaurants and food trucks at the National Zoo will be open. All on-site public tours and events are temporarily suspended. Some exhibits, galleries, interactives, theaters, retail shops or indoor spaces may be closed or operating at limited capacity. Detailed information for visitors is available on the museum websites. Museum Hours and Information Some locations will open with reduced hours of operation. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: open daily 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. National Museum of African American History and Culture: open Wednesday to Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, both located at Eighth and G streets N.W.: open Wednesday to Sunday 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Visitors will use the G Street entrance. Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, near the White House: open Wednesday to Sunday 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. National Museum of American History: open Friday to Tuesday 11 a.m.–4 p.m. National Museum of the American Indian: open Wednesday to Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m. National Zoo: open daily 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Timed-Entry Passes Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass for each location. Beginning today, April 23, visitors can reserve passes for the Udvar-Hazy Center. Passes for other locations will become available starting a week before their scheduled openings. Visitors driving to the Zoo who wish to park must purchase parking in advance as well. Visitors can reserve passes online at si.edu/visit or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1. An individual will be able to reserve up to six passes per day for a specific location. Each visitor must have a pass, regardless of age. Visitors can choose to print timed-entry passes at home or show a digital timed-entry pass on their mobile device. For the safety of visitors and staff, groups larger than six are strictly prohibited, and at least one adult chaperone is required to accompany up to five children under the age of 18. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center May 5 also marks the 60th anniversary of the first U.S. human spaceflight by Alan Shepard. His Mercury capsule, Freedom 7, will be on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center, its first time there, for the anniversary and through most of this spring and summer. Visitors can pay for parking as they depart. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo Viewing of the Zoo’s newest panda cub, Xiao Qi Ji, will be limited for social distancing purposes and will require a separate free timed-entry pass. Visitors can obtain a free pass for Asia Trail / Giant Pandas when they arrive at the Zoo. Passes will be released throughout the day. As a reminder for the public, Xiao Qi Ji is still young and sleeps a lot during the day. Xiao Qi Ji along with his parents can be viewed on the Zoo’s live panda cams. Reopening the Smithsonian The Smithsonian closed its museums in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between July and October 2020, the Smithsonian opened eight of its facilities before closing to the public again Nov. 23. The reopening of these eight locations is the beginning of a phased reopening process for the Institution. All other Smithsonian museums remain temporarily closed to the public, and the Institution is not announcing additional reopening dates at this time. Updates and information about the museums open to the public are available at si.edu/visit.
CDC gives green light for vaccinated people to travel
The Centers for Disease Control has (finally!) released guidance for Americans ready to travel again after the COVID-19 pandemic. Fully vaccinated travelers are now considered low-risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. The guidelines are only for domestic travel. See the CDC for more information.Updated Information for Travelers Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States:Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine Fully vaccinated travelers should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including:Wear a mask over your nose and mouth Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer
How badly do you want to travel? 38% would give up sex.
Read the full press release below: DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY – February 17, 2021 – After a year that changed everything, it’s clear that modern travel has been profoundly altered, perhaps forever. As the vaccine rollout continues and restrictions begin to lift in parts of the globe, eager travelers everywhere wait patiently for the clear signal to be able to getaway and adventure once again. Global accommodations search platform trivago recently conducted a survey to see how consumers are planning, dreaming and considering travel in 2021. The consumer omnibus survey, conducted from Jan. 3-9, polled more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. and U.K. The results reveal significant desires to travel, including what consumers would give up, what they’d like to do and where they’d like to go, as well as why they’d like to get back on the road. We’d Give Up A Lot to Travel Again Thinking about their first trip after the pandemic, majorities say it makes them feel “excited” (US, 56%; UK, 54%) and/or “happy” (US, 53%; UK, 52%). In fact, we’re so desperate to travel, 25% of both Britons and Americans say they’d give up all their savings to do it now, and around two-fifths (US, 38%; UK, 40%) say they’d give up sex for a year to get on the road right away. One in five said they would give up their partner to travel now, and even more telling, nearly half would give up their job (US, 48%; UK, 41%). It’s clear that travel plays a massive role in our lives and overall happiness. 2020 Made Us Focus on Self-Care, But How Does Travel Fit In? More than 80% of those surveyed somewhat or strongly agree that travel is a part of a well-rounded life. The concept of travel as a form of selfcare/wellness and to expand one’s perspective is one that continues to grow. In both countries substantial majorities say that being prevented from traveling freely is one of the worst aspects of the pandemic (US, 81%; UK, 82%) and that because of the pandemic this is the most they’ve ever felt like traveling (US, 58%; UK, 61%). Increasingly, we see emotional wellbeing as another driver for travel and the need to get away. When they do travel, respondents appear likely to incorporate new interests – more than half (US, 57%; UK, 56%) say they’ve picked up a new hobby since the start of the pandemic, with most who’ve done so expressing surprise at their newfound passion. The vast majority of those (US, 68%; UK, 64%) think it’s at least somewhat likely they’ll pick a vacation connected to the new hobby once the pandemic ends. Given all this, a travel boom post-pandemic appears likely as consumers strive to make up for lost time. The Definition of a Dream Vacation Has Changed The typical idea of a big trip or vacation – planned ahead and saved for – is becoming obsolete with travel restrictions and the ability to plan ahead all but impossible. In addition, the isolation and distance of lockdowns has changed the dynamic of dream vacations as we think of them. The #1 choice for Americans and Britons for their “dream vacation” was a chance to spend “time with the family and friends I’ve missed” (US, 26%; UK, 34%), with this particularly high with seniors in each country (US, 35%; UK, 47%). Overall, traveling again is inevitable. More than 4 in 5 of the respondents (US, 84%; UK, 87%) see travel as fundamental to a good life and two-thirds or more (US, 72%; UK, 66%) say they plan to travel even more than they have in the past once the pandemic ends. While you’re dreaming of that special trip, you don’t have to stay put. Local getaways, weekend road trips and “staycations” can be enjoyed safely with proper planning and precautions. trivago will soon offer a tool specific to inspiration and booking options for local trips, to get you back on the road nearby. To learn more, visit trivago.com.
Here's How President Biden's COVID-19 Plan Will Impact US Travel
[Updated 02 24 2021] Within his first few days as the 46th President of the United States of America, Joe Biden implemented a new set of state-side COVID-19 travel regulations. After rescinding the ban that prevented certain individuals from entering the United States, he continued rolling out executive orders related to tourism to create stricter COVID-19 regulations. As a part of his Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce, masks are now required in National Parks and at monuments, memorials, and historic sites that are a part of the federal lands. The executive order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel requires face masks on all modes of interstate transportation within the States, including flights, buses, ships, and trains as well as in airports. While U.S. airlines have already been requiring passengers to wear masks, this is the first time there’s been a federally mandated mask policy during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the early January policy requiring negative COVID-19 tests for arriving travelers, all passengers arriving into the United States will now be required to quarantine. The administration has stated that anyone coming into the United States by air, “will need to test before they get onto that plane before they depart and quarantine when they arrive in America.” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement that "we welcome the president’s focus on policies that will encourage safe travel and help restore the millions of U.S. travel jobs that were lost last year... and we also strongly support the president’s mask mandate for interstate travel, which is in line with the industry’s health and safety guidance.” The COVID-19 travel executive order went into effect on January 26th. However, the White House has yet to release a statement regarding the length of the mandatory quarantine period for incoming visitors. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, and the Coast Guard are all expected to provide recommendations on the quarantine length within the next week, in addition to a plan to handle fraudulent tests and entry for passengers arriving from countries where tests aren’t easily accessible. Some medical professionals support the comprehensive plan. For instance, Bob Bacheler, a critical care flight nurse said “President Biden’s policies are merely bringing the United States closer to the rest of the world’s standards. Every country I’ve entered has required had some form of COVID-19 testing. Some were as simple as a temperature check and a document indicating travel history (Mexico) to being met at the airport by people in full PPE and receiving a Covid test at the airport (Togo). When I’d return to the US, I’d pass through customs and never speak to anyone or have anyone ask where I had been.” Cherene Saradar, a travel blogger and a nurse anesthetist who has been working with COVID-19 patients, reflected a similar sentiment saying that she’d like to see stricter requirements for those traveling domestically. Lola Méndez is a sustainable travel advocate who writes the responsible lifestyle blog Miss Filatelista.