EU Could Further Ease Travel Restrictions for the Vaccinated

Europe is looking to make travel easier for those who are vaccinated.

European Union countries are working to agree on how to ease pandemic travel restrictions within and into the bloc as vaccination levels increase, according to Bloomberg.


The report noted that the EU could scrap its traffic light system and allow vaccinated travelers to travel freely using a digital Covid passport.

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Reopening from COVID-19

The EU digital Covid allows travelers to cross borders without having to take tests or quarantine and shows if a person has been fully vaccinated or has recovered from Covid-19.

“Given the very sizable impact on the exercise of free movement, persons traveling within the EU should in principle no longer be required to quarantine save for very exceptional situations (e.g. new variants of concern),” the European Commission proposal says.

There is a secondary proposal that refines the data used to produce the traffic light ratings and would encourage the implementation of more standardized rules for handling travelers in each zone.

The proposal also preserves the use of the “emergency brake” if new variants emerge.

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E.U. weighs covid travel restrictions on American tourists, U.S. says avoid Europe

The possibility of a review looms as U.S. authorities are urging Americans to avoid much of western Europe. On Monday, the State Department issued “Do Not Travel” advisories for France and Iceland, citing the virus levels in those countries, which are similar to U.S. rates. Officials had already attached that highest-level warning to Britain, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

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European Union travel restrictions: E.U. recommends new rules for unvaccinated Americans

Airlines for Europe, the largest E.U. airline association, urged policymakers to rethink the decision, arguing that the rampant community spread on both sides of the Atlantic shows that air travel is not fueling new virus cases. The restrictions, the group said in a Monday statement, are “extremely disappointing for Europe’s airlines and our ailing tourism sector.”

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Brexit LIVE: Lord Sugar erupts – claims petrol crisis ‘tip of iceberg’ after leaving EU | Politics | News

Ministers are considering plans to ease visa restrictions for up to 1,000 foreign butchers, according to The Times.

The National Pig Association (NPA) has warned of a crisis in the pig industry due to a lack of labourers which could impact food supplies over Christmas.

Farmers could be forced to cull hundreds of pigs to ease the pressure on the workers. 

NPA chairman Rob Mutimer told Radio 4: “This is happening on pig farms all over the country, farms of all different sizes being backed up and running out of space for their animals, which is a real worry coming into winter.

“It involves either shooting pigs on the farm or taking them to an abattoir, killing the animal, and actually disposing of them in the skip at the end of the chain.

“These animals won’t go into the food chain, they will either be rendered or, if not, sent for incineration. It’s an absolute travesty.

“On our farm, our pigs are usually around 115kg when they go to slaughter and they’re now around the 140kg mark so the pens and the sheds weren’t designed for animals of this size and we’re really heading into an acute welfare disaster very quickly.”

The Government says it is “continuing to work closely” with the pig industry.

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COVID-19: US to relax travel rules for vaccinated passengers from UK and EU | US News

Vaccinated passengers will be able to enter the US from the UK and EU from November, ending almost two years of coronavirus travel restrictions.

The new rules would be part of broader policy changes for international travel and will apply to fully jabbed people – meaning those who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

All foreign travellers will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of the flight.

Travel latest: US lifts travel ban on UK and EU passengers from November

EDITORIAL USE ONLY New ???COME FLY AGAIN??? signage is unveiled at London???s Heathrow Airport to celebrate the safe reopening of international travel and mark its 75th anniversary. Issue date: Thursday July 29, 2021.
The UK lifted travel restrictions for US passengers entering the UK in July

It will end an 18-month patchwork of travel restrictions imposed by former president Donald Trump at the start of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is delighted that President Joe Biden is “reinstating transatlantic travel”.

He added: “It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again.”

Speaking in New York, Boris Johnson was questioned by Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby over his previous comments that we shouldn’t ‘hold our breath’ on the lifting of US travel ban – suggesting he wasn’t expecting the announcement.

When asked whether he had been caught out by the US president acting unilaterally, Mr Johnson insisted “we’ve done it faster than we expected”.

Addressing the House of Commons, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “In 2020 the only weapon we had to fight the spread of COVID was simply to keep people apart.”

But as one “of the world’s most vaccinated countries”, with more than eight out of 10 people now jabbed, he says that “we must use that to our advantage to restore freedoms that were by necessity lost over the past 18 months”.

He continued: “Vaccinated Britons will be able to travel into the US from early November, reciprocating the policy that we introduced this summer and this is a testament to the hard work and progress of the expert working group set up at the G7 to restart transatlantic travel.”

Vaccines, he said, “mean the emphasis can now shift to an individual’s status instead”.

Newly-appointed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted: “Excellent news for travellers from the UK to the US. Important for our economic recovery, families and trade.”

British ambassador to the United States, Karen Pierce, said: “We are grateful the US has recognised the progress the UK has made against COVID-19, including high vaccination rates and declining cases.

“This decision means that more Brits can reunite with loved ones in the United States, more British holidaymakers can spend their hard-earned pounds in the American tourism sector, and more business activity can boost both of our economies.”

However, President Biden will tighten rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who now need to be tested within a day of their departure from the US as well as on their return.

Those fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine.

Airlines will be required to collect contacting tracing information – including phone numbers and email addresses – from international travellers.

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George Eustice has warned that lifting travels restrictions too quickly could end up with England back in full lockdown

Following the announcements, companies reliant on international travel saw their shares rise. Aeroplane engine maker Rolls-Royce saw shares climb by 5%, while SSP, whose brands such as Upper Crust and Ritazza operate at transport hubs, rose 6%.

In Europe, Air-France KLM and Lufthansa also enjoyed a share price bounce.

And easyJet, despite not being a transatlantic aviation player, nonetheless saw sharp gains, jumping by 9%.

British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said it was a “historic moment”.

“Our customers should now feel that the world is reopening to them and they can book their trips with confidence,” he added.

The changes only effect air travel, with the order restricting overland travel from Canada and Mexico still in place and reviewed on a monthly basis.

Announcing the new US policy on travel, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said: “This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach, so it’s a stronger system.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will decide which vaccines are acceptable under the US system and whether those unapproved in America could be used, he added.

Under the previous policy, only American citizens, their immediate families, or green card holders could enter the US from the UK or EU.

However, the American government had the power to grant national interest exemptions to allow people to travel.

U.S. President Joe Biden makes remarks to promote his infrastructure spending proposals during a visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in Golden, Colorado
Joe Biden will also tighten testing rules for unvaccinated Americans

The US also banned travel for anyone who had been in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, or India, 14 days prior to arriving in the country.

In July, the UK waived quarantine requirements for fully-vaccinated arrivals from the US.

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Q&A: Everything US travelers need to know about EU restrictions

(CNN) — It was too good to last.

While summer saw much of Europe open up to American visitors, offering them the chance to fulfill lockdown dreams of eating gelato in Italy or touring the art museums of Paris, the season’s end has brought with it new restrictions, and the doors to the continent begin to close.

The news has prompted various European countries to update travel restrictions for Americans, while some have prohibited entry to US travelers completely.

Unsurprisingly, the changes have prompted widespread confusion, particularly for those planning to travel to Europe in the coming months.

Here’s a look at the tightened rules and what they mean for American travelers.

Can Americans still travel to Europe?

More countries may soon restrict access to Americans.

More countries may soon restrict access to Americans.

Clara Margais/Picture Alliance/Getty Images

Yes, they can. Only a small number of countries have so far restricted all nonessential arrivals from the United States. Since the EU advice was issued, Bulgaria, Norway and Sweden are the only ones to restrict all access.

However, while at least one destination — Greece — has ruled out imposing new curbs on travel in the near future, it’s safe to say that Americans, particularly those who are unvaccinated, are likely to face more restrictions in the days and weeks to come.

What are the new EU rules?

Its advice is non-binding, however. There’s no pressure for countries to adopt this measure and they’re free to ignore it if they choose.

That means there’s no blanket rule covering the continent. Instead each destination country is at liberty to adopt or ignore the advice according to their own preferences.

Given how valued US visitors are to Europe’s tourism economies, it’s likely that any decision to restrict their arrival will be taken with considerable reluctance.

What do the EU rules mean for Americans traveling to Europe?

A lot more red tape, uncertainty and research, that’s for sure.

Ultimately it means that traveling to European countries is likely to become harder for Americans in the weeks ahead, although not necessarily impossible.

As the rules change, it’s up to individual travelers to check their eligibility to travel. Although airlines may also do checks before departure, they won’t need to in order to sell tickets.

It’s worth checking CNN Travel’s Unlocking the World guides for up to date info where relevant or the US embassy in the country of destination. And then keep checking as the rules can change with just a couple of days’ notice.

Some countries may keep their doors open, but tweak requirements such as pre-departure Covid tests, quarantine arrangements or proof of vaccination.

Which countries can Americans visit in Europe?

Croatia is still open to Americans.

Croatia is still open to Americans.


Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain are currently all open to fully vaccinated Americans.

The restrictions in place vary from country to country. Many destinations require travelers to submit a negative Covid test on arrival, while some have both testing and quarantine measures in place for vaccinated visitors.

France currently has no travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans, but a negative Covid test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival is required before they can enter Italy. A mandatory 10-day quarantine is set for fully vaccinated US travelers visiting the Netherlands, while those entering Germany must provide a negative Covid test result before being permitted to enter.

Fully vaccinated Americans are allowed to visit the United Kingdom, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

However different testing and/or quarantine measures have been implemented in each country.

Is travel to Europe safe?

No travel during the pandemic is entirely Covid-risk free, even for vaccinated travelers, and the best way to stay safe is to remain at home and minimize exposure to the virus.

That said, if safety protocols like mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitizing are adhered to, there’s no reason why travelers can’t have a safe trip to Europe. Statistically, most western European countries have lower Covid rates than the United States.

There are still Covid hotspots — Montenegro recently experienced a major spike in cases — so it’s worth checking US Embassy travel advice at the destination. Again, it’s a matter of research.

Are more countries going to close their borders?

It’s not entirely clear. Since several European countries have introduced new restrictions for US travelers based on the EU’s advice, it’s possible that others will follow suit in the coming weeks.

The restrictions have come about because of the spread of Covid’s Delta variant in the United States, with cases reaching their highest numbers in many months throughout July and August. As numbers remain high in September, and colder months expected to fuel the disease’s spread, more restrictions seem likely.

What should I do if I’ve booked a trip to Europe?

If you’ve booked travel to a country that remains open to Americans, you shouldn’t encounter any problems provided you follow all of the recommended advice.

But if the rules have changed since you booked, many hotels and airlines recognize the problems with Covid and restrictions and may offer refunds if you’ve booked directly. It’s worth asking.

As with all travel during the pandemic, there is however a risk that you may wind up out of pocket.

Luis Araujo, President of the European Travel Commission, a nonprofit that promotes tourism in the continent, stresses that US travelers are still a huge priority for Europe despite the rule changes.

“American travelers are crucially important for Europe, and most European destinations are still open to US visitors and eager to welcome them back to our shores,” Araujo tells CNN Travel in a statement.

“That said, we must accept that we are still living through the reality of this ongoing pandemic and will experience some setbacks on our way to recovery.

“Travelers from the US still have to be conscious of health measures and respect rules at their destination.”

Should I book any future travel to Europe?

As mentioned above, with any travel plans in the current pandemic, there are risks they may have to be changed or canceled. If you’re looking for an escape entirely free of bureaucratic hassle, uncertainty and stress, then perhaps the answer is a straightforward no.

But Araujo insists US citizens should “continue planning their trips to Europe,” while keeping “an eye on all the latest travel rules and cancellation policies.”

He adds: “Travelers are best advised to check the Reopen EU website and the websites of national tourism offices, which contain all information and safety requirements that are being regularly updated, including information on testing, passenger locator forms, as well as any other health measures in place.

“With current vaccination rates and safety protocols in place, safe international travel is absolutely possible, with this summer season proving that.”

Which European countries have banned unvaccinated US travelers?

The Netherlands now requires vaccinated Americans to quarantine.

The Netherlands now requires vaccinated Americans to quarantine.

Ramon Van Flymen/ANP/AFP/Getty Images

Denmark, Finland, France, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, and Spain have all banned nonessential unvaccinated US travelers. Meanwhile, all nonessential American travelers are prohibited from visiting Bulgaria, Norway and Sweden, regardless of their vaccination status.

Which vaccinations are accepted in Europe?

To be considered as a fully vaccinated visitor, travelers must have been administered with a complete dose of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) — Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen — two weeks before their trip.

Can I travel to Europe with unvaccinated kids?

The new rules will not impact children who are too young to be vaccinated. Those under 12 can travel with vaccinated adults to European countries where US travelers are permitted to enter. But while under 12s are exempt from all restrictions in some countries, others require a negative Covid test.

Those aged between 12 and 18 are subject to the same rules and restrictions as adult travelers. Again, it’s worth double-checking for each destination in case variations on these guidelines are introduced.

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EU Removes Japan, Five Other Countries From Safe Travel List | World News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union has removed Japan and five other countries from its list of safe travel destinations, meaning visitors or people returning from those countries are likely to face tighter controls such as COVID-19 tests or quarantine.

Following a review, the governments of the EU’s 27 member states agreed to drop Japan, along with Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brunei and Serbia, the European Council said on Thursday. Uruguay has been added to the list.

With changes the EU safe list compromises 12 countries, including Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia. Chinese territories Hong Kong and Macao are also considered safe.

The bloc still lets in most non-EU visitors who are fully vaccinated, although tests and periods of quarantine can apply, depending on the EU country of arrival.

The list seeks to unify travel rules across the bloc, advising that restrictions be lifted. However, it does not bind individual EU nations, which are free to determine their own border policies.

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Germany, for example, already added Albania, Azerbaijan, Japan and Serbia on Sunday to its list of “high-risk areas” for which tighter entry restrictions apply.

Average daily COVID-19 cases in the six countries knocked off the EU safe list have risen sharply from below 40 per million people in late June to over 100 in the week to Sept. 8, figures from Our World in Data show, with Serbia at 593.

However, the case rate in Japan has dipped in the past two weeks to almost exactly the same as in Germany.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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Travel advisors reassure clients, but will EU guidance have chilling effect?: Travel Weekly

The U.S. travel trade was left scrambling to respond to the European Union’s decision last week to remove the U.S. from its “safe travel” list due to the recent rise in Covid cases.

Confusion ran rampant immediately following the announcement, which was not “legally binding,” according to the EU Council, with each EU member country left to decide whether to ramp up restrictions on U.S. inbound travel.

An online infographic shared by the council indicated that the EU continued to support travel by those who are fully vaccinated, suggesting that unvaccinated travelers would likely bear the brunt of any resulting policy changes.


Needless pause

Trafalgar CEO Gavin Tollman writes that this latest wave of Covid is unnecessary, and that makes him angry. 

An EU official told Travel Weekly that if member states are currently allowing in vaccinated travelers, they are able to opt to continue to do so. At the same time, members who are not requiring travelers to be vaccinated would be under no obligation to change their policy.

Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of New York-based travel agency Embark Beyond, reported that many Europe-bound clients were concerned about the shift in guidance, and Embark was moving quickly in order to assuage their fears.

“Every article out there says, ‘it may prohibit [travel],’ and clients read this and then they’re in a panic,” said Ezon. “We need to get out there and say, ‘Yes, they moved us to the red list,’ but then explain what that means. “And in essence, it’s a suggestion.”

Italy enhanced its rules on the heels of the EU’s announcement: Travelers coming into Italy from the U.S., including those who are vaccinated, will need to obtain proof of a negative Covid test 72 hours prior to entry. Previously, fully vaccinated travelers did not need a test to enter. 

Travelers who cannot show proof of vaccine or Covid recovery must quarantine for five days and then take a test.
A number of Embark’s clients, and especially those with unvaccinated travel companions, were rushing to push their Europe travel dates forward in order to get into the region “before the doors close,” according to Ezon.

Phillip Archer, founder and chief experience designer at San Francisco-based Roaming Richly Travel, said he’s been inundated by client phone calls since the EU guidance change.

T0621EUROPEMAP_SS_HR [Credit: Janis Abolins/]

Europe travel

Travel Weekly has compiled entry information on countries that are open to U.S. visitors.

Last week, he put out an email to help mitigate client concerns, asserting that it would “seem extreme” for EU member states to fully ban inbound U.S. travel. A wave of “requirements for travel that better mitigate risk, like testing prior and during travel, even for those who are vaccinated” seemed far more likely, he wrote.

The infographic provided by the council on who should be allowed to travel into the EU essentially split their suggestions on inbound travelers into three categories: Fully vaccinated travelers who should still be allowed to travel to the bloc (including children too young to be vaccinated, provided they’ve had a negative Covid test), followed by “essential travelers” and then “nonessential travelers from countries on the EU list,” which applies to “all travelers” from that country.

The EU reviews its recommendations for the list every two weeks. Among the criteria for removing countries from the safe-travel list were that a country have no more than 75 new Covid cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. 

On Aug. 27, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported that the U.S. had recorded approximately 600 new Covid cases per 100,000 for the two weeks ending Aug. 22. 

The EU official who spoke to Travel Weekly said that the purpose of the council’s recommendations was to try and align EU member policies as much as possible. But again, since it’s left up to each country to decide its policies, the situation for inbound travelers is as fluid as it’s ever been. 

World Travel & Tourism Council CEO Julia Simpson was critical of the EU’s recommendation, calling it “a step backwards.”

“Critically, we need a common set of rules that recognize global vaccines and remove the need to quarantine for people with a negative Covid result,” she said.

Tour operators have also had to proactively engage in customer outreach. Collette, which had already announced that it would require that all travelers on international tours be fully vaccinated starting Sept. 1, put out a statement assuring clients that the company’s EU itineraries would continue to operate.

“Our guests are fully vaccinated, and our team continues to do its due diligence in vetting every aspect of travel within the European Union, while adhering to necessary testing and guidance that has been set forth,” said Collette CEO Dan Sullivan Jr. in a release.

Tour company Walks, which is part of Hornblower Group’s City Experiences brand, has similarly stepped up its client communication efforts, keeping guests abreast of any changes and responding to questions via its blog and social media platforms, according to Walks president and founder Stephen Oddo.

I feel like many of my clients who were starting to make plans for European travel will now hold off until we know more about specific countries.– travel advisor Margie Hand

“Our guests mostly have questions about the implications and want to know the latest travel guidance and requirements,  so far, we’ve not seen any increased cancellation rates or decreased booking rates,” said Oddo, describing Italy’s new arrival policy as “a very light change.”

Others in the travel space, however, are already feeling more significant impact from the EU’s announcement. Daniel Scher, a travel consultant with Strong Travel Services, a Dallas-based Virtuoso agency, said that the EU’s move has brought his European business “to a standstill.”

The EU’s announcement “will cause people that are on the ledge about traveling to reconsider,” added Scher.

Margie Hand, an Andavo Travel affiliate based in Birmingham, Ala., also worried about the level of uncertainty the EU’s guidance has spawned.

“I feel like many of my clients who were starting to make plans for European travel will now hold off until we know more about specific countries,” said Hand. “This does add another wrinkle for agents in an already difficult time.”

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