The European Union has begun the process to re-impose restrictions (quarantine, testing) for unvaccinated Americans. The U.S. will be removed from a list of countries whose citizens are allowed to travel freely in Europe without Covid restrictions.
The E.U. list is advisory, with individual nations setting their own rules. For instance Greece decided to open up months before the E.U. agreed to open borders to Americans. France and Spain had already announced their intention to do so, as well.
And as I wrote when this was first under consideration several weeks ago a key consideration for whether and when countries re-impose restrictions is the extent to which their economies rely on tourism. It’s no coincidence that Greece, France, and Spain were among the first Schengen countries to announce they’d welcome Americans before Europe had taken broader action.
Along with the U.S. it’s expected that Kosovo, Israel, Montenegro, Lebanon and North Macedonia will be removed from Europe’s ‘safe list’. This decision is expected to become final on Monday, subject to objection by European member states.
The decision to remove the U.S. from the safe travel countries list is as much about infection levels as about the U.S. refusal to allow travelers from Europe. Vaccinated Germans who test negative for Covid-19 aren’t permitted to fly to the U.S., while unvaccinated Russians and Indonesians can do so. Unvaccinated Americans can enter the country via Mexico without a negative test as well.
What we have is a return to ‘regime uncertainty’ which I’ve written about for a year as a key driver of difficulty in booking trips.
- A destination may be open when you buy tickets, but will it still be open when it comes time to travel?
- What about changes to rules for entering any connecting city, in the event of a misconnection?
- And rules for returning to your home country, such as testing or vaccination requirements? (And which tests and vaccines count, taken how recently?)
I am hopeful that vaccinated Americans will continue to be able to travel to most of Europe, but rules will continue to vary.